Women and pro-choice campaigners in Ireland are going on strike to protest the country’s strict anti-abortion laws.
Protesters will gather at O’Connell Bridge in central Dublin and in other cities across Ireland and worldwide to demand a referendum on abortion, which is a criminal offense under the Irish constitution.
According to one of the organizers of the protest, Avril Corroon, the exercise is not a form of industrial action but a “social strike,” inspired by mass protests in Poland that led the government to reject proposals for a near-total ban on abortion.
She went further to say that people had been encouraged to take a day off to take part in demonstrations, but those unable to do so could show support for the cause by wearing black, posting on social media and staging coordinated walkouts at 12 pm.
“Abortion is a workplace issue; not everyone is in a position to take a day off work, which is why we need new reproductive health laws.”
It has been reported that an estimate of 12 women travel to Great Britain from Ireland every day to have access to a safe and legal termination.
The Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland gives explicit recognition to the right to life of an unborn child, effectively introducing a constitutional ban on abortion in Ireland.
Women who have abortions in the Republic of Ireland will face up to 14 years in prison. The law is and not limited to pregnancies conceived as a result of rape or incest, or where the fetus cannot survive outside the womb due to a fatal abnormality. It is the same case for all pregnancies.
Irish women seek that the anti-abortion laws contained in the 8th amendment of the constitution should be repealed.
Previously, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service said women were risking prosecution by using the pills to induce an abortion, but most were unaware of the risk.
The advisory service, which provides abortions at its clinics across the country, obtained data from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) which shows 645 abortion pills were seized in 2015 and 2016 on their way to addresses in England, Wales, and Scotland.
A large number of desperate women order the illegal abortion pills online with the fear of being prosecuted.
However, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, which wants Anti-abortion laws removed, said many women were unaware they could face prosecution and lifetime imprisonment for buying pills online to induce their own abortion.
Student walkouts and demonstrations have been planned at Irish universities including University College Dublin.
Kim Harte a student of University College Dublin tweeted, on Wednesdays we wear black.
— Kim Harte (@KimHarte) March 8, 2017
Ms. Harte, dressed in black for the protests, told the press that she and her classmates planned to walk out of lectures at 12.30 to join a rally on campus, before traveling to the city center for the march.
In a statement, Ms. Harte said:
“Women should have access to free, safe and legal abortion. Bodily autonomy is right; the 8th amendment has already caused women, such as Savita Halappanavar, to lose their lives and this is why it must be repealed.”
Ms. Halappanavar died in October 2012 at a hospital in Galway after she was refused an abortion despite complications to her pregnancy.