Ireland´s first ever "March for Choice" took place in Dublin on Saturday, September 29.
The march comes weeks ahead of an impending report to be given to the government which will examine the state´s conduct in relation to the European Court of Human Rights ruling on the rights of women.There has been a suggestion that the state´s position, which does not grant the right of abortion if the mother´s life is at risk, may be in contravention of the Court´s ruling.The expert panel has been appointed to examine whether this is in fact the case.
The march, which is the first of its kind in Ireland, began in Dublin´s O´Connell Street in the early afternoon and swelled throughout the afternoon as it meandered through the city streets. Gardai reported that there were "in excess of 2,000" people at the march.
There were strong messages delivered on placards carried by the marchers. One read "My views on abortion are far too complex and nuanced for a pithy slogan on a sign", another read " 12 Women Every Day", while another stated simply "Think Outside My Box".
The Labour Party and The United Left Alliance were also represented at the march, highlighting the divergent views both within government and Leinster House as a whole surrounding the issue of abortion.The march organisers are campaigning to have safe and legal abortion allowed in the state, in line with the X case in 1992.
In that case, a 14-year old girl was granted permission to travel to the UK for an abortion because it was feared she may commit suicide.The judgement did not include considerations for other health issues which may arise for a woman during pregnancy .A screening of "X is for anonymous" a documentary created by Dublin students Heather Browning, Kerry Guinan and Rosi Leonard was screened in Temple Bar after the march to highlight the issues surrounding safe abortions for women.
A 2002 referendum which sought to remove possible suicide as grounds for abortion was narrowly rejected by 50.4% to 49.6%, indicating what a polarizing and emotive issue abortion is for the Irish electorate.