Tuesday 18 June 2019

Pro-choice activists vow to 'defy the law' by handing out abortion pills

Protesters at the ‘Repeal the Eighth’ pro-choice march in Dublin . Photo: Gerry Mooney
Protesters at the ‘Repeal the Eighth’ pro-choice march in Dublin . Photo: Gerry Mooney

Allison Bray

Pro-choice activists vow to defy the law and hand out abortion pills in major centres and universities next month as part of their campaign to repeal Ireland’s controversial abortion laws.

Volunteers with ROSA (Reproductive Rights against Oppression Sexism and Austerity) will hand out the abortion pills, Mifepristone and Misoprostol, to women requesting them when their ‘Bus4Repeal’ tours the country in March.

The bus will visit UCD, Waterford Institute of Technology, UCC, NUI Galway and Maynooth University from March 6 to 8.

It will also visit Cork, Limerick, Galway and Dublin ahead of the mass rally on International Women’s Day on March 8 in Dublin in which pro-choice activists will stage a march calling for a referendum on the controversial 8th amendment of the Constitution.

Rita Harrold of ROSA said the bus will be touring the country to “boost support” for the campaign to repeal the amendment which bans abortion in Ireland and provide access to what she termed “safe early abortions” for women who cannot or do not want to travel abroad for a termination.

Although the pills are not legally available in Ireland, she said activists are willing to breaking the law.

“We are saying the law needs to change, so we’re breaking the law,” she said.

"The Bus 4 Repeal will be supporting the growing movement for abortion rights around the country with rallies and meetings along the way. We will also be assisting those who cannot travel abroad to access safe, early abortion pills.”

She claims that three women in Ireland a day are requesting the abortion pills from the Women on Web organisation which will also provide medical advice by telephone for women requesting it.

However, volunteers are expecting to be met with resistance along the way.

“We’re not hoping for a backlash,” she told the Irish Independent yesterday after the bus campaign was announced.

“There have been aggressive hecklers and counter protestors in the past but we don’t want anyone to be shouted at – especially by older men,” she said.

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