For the fourth year in a row Éirígí For a New Republic activists joined the annual March For Choice in Dublin City yesterday (September 29th). This year's theme of ‘No One Left Behind’ highlighted the reality that abortion services are still illegal in the Six Counties and unavailable locally to many women in the Twenty-Six Counties.
Despite the best efforts of regressive forces led by the Democratic Unionist Party, it seems that women living in the Six Counties may soon have local access to abortion services.
In July of this year legislation was passed in Westminster which will decriminalise abortion in the Six Counties from October 21st, with a legislative framework for abortion services to follow before March 2020. Only the re-establishment of the Stormont Assembly before October 21st will prevent decriminalisation from coming into effect.
Pending the re-unification of the national territory, Éirígí supports the introduction of legislation that will allow women in the Six Counties local access to safe and legal abortion services.
Despite the overwhelming result of the May 2018 referendum, many women in primarily rural communities in the Twenty-Six Counties still do not have local access to abortion services. And other women have to run the gauntlet of anti-choice protesters outside medical facilities, including the National Maternity Hospital on Holles Street.
Éirígí calls for equality of access to abortion services across Ireland and for an end to the shameful picketing of maternity hospitals and other medical facilities. Such attempts to intimidate patients and thwart access to medical facilities achieve nothing but unnecessary hurt and trauma.
The fight for abortion rights won’t be won until every Irish woman has access to abortions services that are local, free, safe, legal and free of intimidation. Until that day comes our activists will be on the streets standing with the women of Ireland.