Why I’m Marching: For Our Future

Kate and family

We are getting so excited for the ARC March for Choice on Saturday September 29th. We have been sharing blogposts which describe what this March means to our members. In this post, Kate Vaughan, a member of ARC’s Policy and Advocacy working group and Fingal ARC, tells us why she’s marching.

If you would like to tell us why you’re marching this year, please email [email protected]

In one of my four year old daughter’s favourite books, a young girl tells her grandfather that she wants to travel the world and then come home and live in a house by the sea. He then challenges her to add one thing to her list, which is to also do something to make the world more beautiful. Many years later, she decides that she will accomplish this by planting wildflower seeds everywhere she goes. The townspeople initially think she’s strange, walking around throwing seeds everywhere, but when her flowers bloom they can finally see her beautiful vision.

I’ve been trying to think of how to articulate the reasons why I am marching in this year’s March for Choice for about a week now. As a feminist and a macro social worker, I care deeply about human rights and have spent my career working to advance social justice through the lens of healthcare. But this year, it is more than that and reading this book to my daughter strangely brought it all into focus for me.

We are part of a movement which began a long generation ago. For 35 years people in Ireland have been living under and fighting against the oppression of the Eighth Amendment. In these decades, people all over the country have bravely planted seeds of change by speaking out in their towns and cities, by sharing stories with their friends and families, and by banding together to show the people in power that the status quo is not acceptable. Adriene Rich wrote, “when a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her.” Sometimes telling the truth is a radical act. The stories of human experience with the Eighth Amendment changed Ireland and our collective understanding of abortion care. Thanks in part to ARC’s thoughtful planning, those decades of planting seeds of change have grown a garden of activists across the country. And based on the overwhelming vote for Yes on May 25th, it seems that the majority of the people can now see our vision.  

Yet, more than 100 days later we still do not have access to the care we need. This is unacceptable. Ireland overwhelmingly voted in favour of abortion access and it is time that our laws reflect that.  On September 29th, we will again take to the streets and remind our elected officials that we are still here, still fighting for free, safe and legal abortion access for all who need it in Ireland.

So, why am I marching in this year’s March for Choice? Much like the girl in the book, I have spent time traveling the world and now live in a house (ok, apartment) by the sea. I’m marching because I want to see a better, kinder and healthier life for my kids and for everyone who is still figuring out who they will be. I’m marching because the freedom to make choices about one’s body and future is something I believe every person is entitled to. I’m marching because together, we can make the world more beautiful.