Belfast Telegraph

Hundreds join ‘march for choice’ abortion rally in Dublin

Campaigners want the time women must wait for a termination reduced.

Hundreds have taken part in a pro-choice abortion march in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)
Hundreds have taken part in a pro-choice abortion march in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

By Michael McHugh, PA

Hundreds of people have taken part in a pro-choice abortion march in Dublin.

Campaigners want the amount of time women must wait for a termination reduced in the Republic.

At present women must wait for three days after a doctor certifies they are no more than 12 weeks pregnant – characterised by the Irish Government as a “cooling off” period.

Official guidance says doctors may refuse to provide, or to participate in carrying out, a procedure, lawful treatment or form of care which conflicts with their sincerely-held ethical or moral values.

It also sets out obligations that the doctor will have to the patient in such circumstances.

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Alissa Dunsky knitted a uterus to take part in the march (Niall Carson/PA)

A “March for Choice” from Dublin’s Garden of Remembrance to Merrion Square on Saturday heard chants of: “No women left behind.”

Abortion Rights Ireland said: “Activists march because rural abortion access is vital in the fight for free, safe, legal, local (care).

“The only way we can ensure that there will be no-one left behind is the provision of more abortion services across the country.”

Campaigners carried banners proclaiming “The North is next”, while another said healthcare does not stop at the border.

Abortion services are due to be introduced in Northern Ireland next year after Westminster legislated for them.

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The “March for Choice” in Dublin heard chants of: “No women left behind” (Niall Carson/PA).

In July, MPs passed the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Act.

It placed a duty on the Government to regulate to provide for access to abortion in Northern Ireland.

It comes into effect if the Stormont executive is not restored by October 21, with regulations required to be in place by the end of March 2020.

At the Dublin march, one woman had knitted a uterus with the word “mine” on it. Another sign said: “I am a woman, not a womb.”

One participant wore a dinosaur costume, in reference to the DUP’s anti-abortion stance.

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Protesters in Dublin were keen to point out new legislation allowing abortions in Northern Ireland comes into effect soon (Niall Carson/PA)

Niall Herron, a student and Amnesty International activist studying history and politics at Queens University Belfast, participated in the march.

He said: “We were in Dublin to celebrate the referendum last year and to remind the Irish Government of its responsibility to carry out what the people voted for, but also to remind the entire island that Northern Ireland is still a place where abortion is illegal.”

He said it is three weeks until the procedure is decriminalised north of the border.

He added: “It is a first step, it will not satisfy those who have been working for so long, but it is a first step towards a safe environment for women to live in across the entire island of Ireland.”

PA

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