Tuesday June 18, 2019

‘Parent by Choice for Choice’ : Thousands Join Protests Against Ireland’s Abortion Laws

This year's march against abortion laws was more significant than ever given the latest confirmation that there will be a referendum on abortion next year

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Thousands gathered to protest against Ireland's abortion laws holding placards saying "Keep your rosaries off my ovaries" and "Parent by choice for choice (representational image) Wikimedia

Dublin, September 1, 2017 : Thousands of people staged a massive protest in Dublin, calling for an end to Ireland’s strict abortion laws, the media reported.

Campaigners took part in the March for Choice in the capital’s city centre on Saturday, chanting: “Hey, hey Leo (Prime Minister Leo Varadkar), the eighth amendment has got to go” and carrying banners which read: “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries” and “Parent by choice for choice”, reports the Guardian.

This year’s march against abortion laws, the sixth in a series of annual events, was more significant than ever given the latest confirmation that there will be a referendum on abortion next year.

The Irish government recently set a potential timescale of early 2018 for the referendum on the eighth amendment, the section of Ireland’s constitution imposing tight legal restrictions on terminations.

ALSO READ Anti-abortion Activists and supporters of a Woman’s right choose staged demonstrations in US

The amendment, which was voted into the constitution by referendum in 1983, affords equal rights to unborn babies and pregnant women and gives foetuses the right to life by law, the Guardian reported.

Terminations are only permitted when the life of the mother is at risk, and the maximum penalty for having an illegal abortion in Ireland is 14 years in prison.

Thousands of Irish women travel to the British mainland each year to have a legal termination.

ALSO READ DIY abortions: To do or not to do?

Anti-abortion activists staged counter events in the city and across Ireland to warn against the relaxation of the current law reports the BBC.

A pro-choice rally was also staged outside the Irish embassy in London on Saturday, with campaigners highlighting the numbers of Irish women who have traveled to the UK for an abortion in the last three decades.  (IANS)

 

 

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Dozens of US Abortion Rights Protester Rally across Nationwide

The demonstrations targeted a recent array of anti-abortion laws being adopted by conservative state legislatures

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abortion rights
A group gathers to protest abortion restrictions at the State Capitol in Austin, Texas, May 21, 2019. VOA

Dozens of protests supporting abortion rights unfolded across the United States on Tuesday, including one held outside the Supreme Court in Washington.

The demonstrations targeted a recent array of anti-abortion laws being adopted by conservative state legislatures that have voiced the hope that the ensuing legal battles over the strict abortion curbs will eventually push the court to overturn its landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion in the country.

abortion rights
Gracie Burke, 19, center, a student at American University, joins other in a protest against abortion bans, May 21, 2019, outside the Supreme Court in Washington. VOA

The laws have imposed various restrictions, often limiting abortions to the first few weeks of a woman’s pregnancy and sometimes before a woman would know she was pregnant.

The StopTheBans protests were sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood Action Fund and other abortion rights groups.

abortion rights
Supporters of abortion rights rally against recently passed restrictions on abortions in the Statehouse rotunda, May 21, 2019, at the Nebraska Capitol in Lincoln, Nebraska. VOA

“Across the country,” the groups said, “we are seeing a new wave of extreme bans on abortion, stripping away reproductive freedom and representing an all-out assault on abortion access.”

They described the new laws adopted or headed toward enactment in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, Missouri and elsewhere as President Donald Trump’s “anti-choice movement … and it’s terrifying, particularly for women of color and low-income women who are most affected by these bans.”

abortion rights
Protesters for women’s rights march to the Alabama Capitol to protest a law passed last week making abortion a felony in nearly all cases with no exceptions for cases of rape or incest, May 19, 2019, in Montgomery, Ala. VOA

In the southern state of Alabama, virtually all abortions were banned, an action that Trump, and some other Republicans who otherwise support most abortion restrictions, have said went too far. Trump two decades ago described himself as “very pro-choice” in support of abortion rights, but last weekend said he approves ending pregnancies only if they occurred because of rape or incest or if the life of the mother is endangered.

abortion rights
As security guards the steps of the Supreme Court, Kristin Mink of Silver Spring, Md., holds her three-week-old daughter by a sign she brought that says, “I exist because my Mom had an abortion,” as Mink joined a protest against abortion bans, May 21, 2019. VOA

At the Supreme Court, several hundred abortion-rights supporters staged a protest against the new laws, most of which have yet to take affect and are being challenged in court suits as not complying with the high court’s 1973 decision.

Several Democratic presidential contenders looking to be the party’s nominee against Trump in the November 2020 election joined the protesters.

abortion rights
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., speaks during a protest against abortion bans, May 21, 2019, outside the Supreme Court in Washington. VOA

“We are not going to allow them to move our country backward,” Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar told the crowd through a megaphone.

Conservatives pushing for the abortion restrictions have been emboldened by Trump’s appointment of two conservative justices to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, who they believe will join three other conservatives on the court to make a 5-4 majority to overturn the Roe vs. Wade decision. The 1973 Roe decision upheld the right to an abortion.

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It could be months before a new abortion rights case reaches the Supreme Court, but it is possible a new ruling could land in the midst of next year’s presidential election campaign. (VOA)