With everything going on surrounding Planned Parenthood back in the U.S. and the continuous fight against access to safe abortions, I felt compelled to attend the March for Choice in Dublin last Saturday. In Ireland, abortion is illegal under the 8th amendment of the constitution and a criminal offense with a sentence up to 14 years in prison. Many women travel outside the country to obtain safe and legal abortions and there continues to be pushback from the government to repeal the 8th amendment.
The march itself was a mix of things: there was yelling, anger and frustration, but there was also laughter and humor and friendship. There were families with small children and large groups of men. It really stood to remind me that access to abortion is simply not an issue that affects only women – it is an issue that affects people, families, and healthcare. It is not just an abstract campaign for women’s rights, it is also a real, tangible, personal, and financial decision made every day by lots of women.
I could not imagine feeling bullied by my government and judged by my peers for making a completely personal choice. The amount of stigma, condescension, and disrespect shown to women who have abortions and the organizations that provide them continues to astound me. I am proud to have been a part of the March for Choice and I hope that events like this will continue to foster open and understanding conversations about abortion.