Yesterday, March 29, marked the beginning of Amnesty International Ireland’s two week long public demonstration outside government buildings calling for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment.
DU Amnesty, Trinity College Dublin’s Students’ Union (TCDSU) and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) are all encouraging students to take part in the demonstration over the next two weeks.
Participants are standing with travel suitcases and bags to represent the 12 women who travel from Ireland to the UK everyday for abortions. The demonstration included 12 participants yesterday, will include 24 people today, and will continue as such until on day 14 a total of 168 people will take part.
In a press release, USI President Kevin Donoghue said: “USI has been pro-choice and campaigning for Irish abortion services since the early 80s. We are proud to stand alongside and fully support Amnesty International in this campaign.”
He continued: “We are urging the next Government to repeal the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 as a matter of utmost urgency and replace it with laws that legalise free, safe and legal abortions in Ireland, at a minimum, in cases of rape, incest, risk to health or fatal foetal impairment; and to repeal the Regulation of Information (Services Outside the State for the Termination of Pregnancies) Act 1995 and any related censorship laws. Legalising abortions in Ireland is critical to advancing gender equality, human rights and the position of women in Irish society. USI is calling on the next government to put this to a referendum and let the Irish people decide.”
Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International, commented: “It has been over a month since the election and we still do not have a government. Over the next two weeks, efforts towards forming a government will ramp up. We will be here during lunchtime every day of those two weeks to demand that repealing the Eighth Amendment is on the table during those discussions.”
He added: “Today, we represent the 12 women and girls who we know will make the journey to the UK for an abortion. This doesn’t include the countless others who don’t give Irish addresses, or who travel to other countries. Each day for the next two weeks, the number of people demonstrating will increase by 12. The parties to the negotiations need to recognise that women will not stop travelling for abortions, and this issue will not be going away, during their time in government. A new government, whatever its composition, must not turn its back on the human rights of women and girls here in Ireland.”