March for Choice in Dublin draws thousands

October 2nd, 2012

Categories: abortion restrictions, Abortion Support Network, economic justice, Funds, International Funds, unfair laws

Friday, September 28, 2012 was the Global Day of Action for Safe and Legal Abortion and the following day the largest demonstration for abortion rights in 20 years took place in Dublin, Ireland, where Mara Clarke of the UK's only abortion fund, the Abortion Support Network, spoke to thousands of activists on the need for universal access to safe abortion.

An excerpt from Ms. Clarke's speech:

People ask me, "Why did you set up this volunteer-run charity that's supported entirely by private individuals to help these women that you've never met?" and I say, "The question is, why in 2012 does the Abortion Support Network have to exist?"

We opened in 2009 and in the last three years we have heard from over 600 women living in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Women and families and couples who in addition to facing an unplanned, unwanted pregnancy have the additional burden of having to call a total stranger in a foreign country and beg for money.

These are women who do not have credit cards. These are women who have sold their cars and cut off their phones. These are couples who are out of work, looking for jobs, and who are making the responsible decision as to whether or not they can parent a child, or in most cases, another child.

They're women as young as 14 and as old as 47. They're me, they're you, they're your mothers, they're your sisters, your daughters, your girlfriends, wives, partners, they're the one in three women in the United Kingdom who will have an abortion in her lifetime, and it is a shame that they need to get on a plane and travel to another country!

But it makes us so happy that all of you here are going to start talking about abortion. You're not just going to talk about it to each other. You're going to talk about it to your mothers, and your sisters and your brothers, and your fathers and your teachers and colleagues. And you're going to say: "12 women a day have to leave Ireland for an abortion...and those are the women who can get the money together. And that's not fair."

Learn more about the history of the Abortion Support Network and the abortion laws in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland here.