Thousands of people attended protests in Dublin yesterday where they called for an end to the laws that make abortion illegal. This is considered as the stickiest law in the Western world. This protest is referred to as the March for Choice and is held on an annual basis. Protestors demand the Irish government to abolish the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution. For starters, this is the part of the constitution that makes abortion illegal. These protests were held few days after the Irish government said that a national referendum would be held to change the law. However, a date for the referendum will be next year. This rally managed to draw demonstrators from all over the country. At the same time, there were solidarity events that were held in other parts of Britain. Some protestors had some harsh words for the government. For instance, one protester shouted a slogan saying “Get your rosaries off my ovaries.” This is a statement that references the influence that the Roman Catholic Church has had on the law. According to the Irish Times, close to 30,000 people attended the event. However, there were counter-protestors in equal numbers who dished out fliers.
Earlier this week on Tuesday, Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said that the country would vote on the law in a referendum that would be held next year. He spoke of the desire to legalize abortion under some circumstances. This means that the government is not willing to overturn all restrictions related to abortion. According to the Eighth Amendment, which was passed in 1983, an unborn child has a right to equal life even over its mother. In those days, Ireland happened to be the most conservative nation on earth. However, this perception was changed by continued secularism in the western world and a number of scandals affecting the nation’s Catholic Church. This is an amendment that has even caught the attention of the United Nations with the international body requesting it to be amended on the basis that it interferes with the rights of women. For Irish women to carry an abortion, they must travel to Britain. Abortion is allowed in Ireland only when the child poses a serious risk to its mother. However, this has come with heavy penalties as there are no clear guidelines on the issue. The death of Savita Halappanavar in 2012 reignited the debate on abortion. This is a lady who wouldn’t be allowed to have an abortion at the threat of a miscarriage. She later passed away due to septicemia.