Pro-choice groups launch 10-day campaign

A seminar on abortion is being held in Dublin today as pro-choice campaigners step up their nationwide campaign on reproductive rights for women.

A series of rallies is being held around the country this month to mark the 21st anniversary of the X case.

Abortion Rights Campaign, an umbrella body formed in January, is co-ordinating 10 days of action demanding the Government bring in legislation in line with the X case judgment before the summer.

Describing abortion as “probably the most common gynaecological procedure that Irish women undergo”, Doctors For Choice said yesterday that as many as 10% of Irishwomen of reproductive age has had an abortion and thousands travelled abroad every year to access abortion services.

“International research shows an increased risk of suicide for pregnant women and adolescents where access to abortion services is restricted,” said Dr Peadar O’Grady of the group, which co-hosts the seminar with the National Women’s Council of Ireland.

A Rally For X march was held last night from the Central Bank to Dublin Castle.

In a statement yesterday, Cork Women’s Right to Choose group said it welcomed being part of the campaign. The Cork activities will culminate in a March for Choice through the city on Saturday.

Pádraigín Murphy, a spokesperson for Pro-Choice Alliance Cork, noted: “The march is also part of the celebrations for International Women’s Day. The continuing denial of this basic human right for Irish women highlights how far this country still has to go in the struggle for women’s rights.”

The rallies sparked a heated response from anti-abortion groups. Women Hurt, which represents women who regret their abortions, accused the National Women’s Council of “using taxpayers’ money to push one side of the abortion story while ignoring the voices of women hurt by abortion”.

The controversy was re-ignited by the death of Savita Halappanavar on Oct 28 after she suffered a miscarriage. Her husband claims doctors at University Hospital Galway refused to carry out an abortion because a foetal heartbeat was present.

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