Why I’m Marching: I am marching for a free, safe, honest health service

Michael Why I'm Marching image

Once again, we’ve been asking you to tell us why you are marching in this year’s March for Choice, the first march after we voted to repeal the 8th Amendment. Thanks to all who have sent us your thoughts. In this post, Michael, a member of Inishowen Abortion Rights Campaign in Co. Donegal, tells us why he is marching for reproductive rights for the very first time.

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

I will be a first-time marcher at the 7th Annual March for Choice. This is why I’m marching beside those who helped achieve Repeal in Ireland.

I am marching for my mother, who developed high blood pressure during her pregnancy with me. Complications caused by narrow arteries took her life in 2015. We know all the women in our daily lives – neighbours, colleagues, friends. I am marching for women who struggle with health conditions, underneath what they present to us. Pregnancy can be fraught with risks and unconsidered dangers. To deny this reality, is to deny women honesty and openness in our abortion discussion. I am marching for a free, safe, honest health service.

I am marching for those who experience grief. The Eighth denied families a natural grieving process. In cases of fatal fetal conditions, family grief was hushed up, pushed inward, exported. To ask families to grieve in such a way for so long, was not normal in society. It was abhorrent. On May 25th, we stood up as a country in recognition of this. We continue to recognise this, by marching for all affected families on September 29th.

I am marching for my sister, my friends and cousins who all have a right to safety in healthcare. Every GP visit and hospital checkup should provide an environment of complete safety. I am marching for dignity, to see a future where abortion is free from stigma, shame and moralistic badgering at hospital doors. A society where reproductive rights are free and legal.

I am marching for myself. Someone who used to be a spectator, watching from the sidelines, never getting involved. For months I was held back by family and told: ‘No. Stay in and keep silent. This issue is too contentious.’ I march because I will not stay silent any longer. Marching is cathartic and empowering. There is nothing wrong in standing up to be counted, in loudly sharing my voice with a chorus for Choice.

I am marching against false promises. Unfortunately, we have a history in this country of governments reneging on commitments, back-pedaling on pledges. I am marching to ensure there will be no government walk backs of proposed legislation.

I am marching against complacency. It would be very easy to slip, to rest on laurels, to say that repeal is won. It would be rash to lose momentum now. The journey to free, safe, legal abortion is only beginning. Repeal was the first step along the path ahead, I fiercely want to be a part of the ongoing fight.