Thousands attended the March for Life in Dublin earlier today. Marchers walked from St Stephen’s Green to Leinster House to call on the Government to address the huge increase in the number of abortions taking place, and to stop keeping women in the dark about positive alternatives to abortion.
Eilís Mulroy of the Pro Life Campaign said: “Today, we are uniting with pro-life Oireachtas members to demand that the Government address Ireland’s spiralling abortion rate and make way for positive alternatives to abortion to be promoted.
“In the first three years since the new abortion law was introduced, 20,718 Irish abortions have taken place. This is a national tragedy that demands urgent action to ensure that women contemplating abortion are fully informed about positive alternatives prior to any abortion happening.”
Rachel Mackenzie talked about her personal experience of having two abortions. She told marchers: “I know what abortion regret feels like, like countless others do. It’s time that politicians acknowledged that people like me exist.”
She continued: “Women and unborn babies deserve better than a system that only offers abortion. We can do better than this. Women that are facing unplanned pregnancies need to be offered positive alternatives because you see one choice is no choice.”
Media commentator Wendy Grace told the marchers: “We gather here today at a particularly important moment as the Government’s three-year review of the abortion law nears its end. The pro-life movement represents more than 1 and 3 voters, yet the Government is behaving like we don’t exist. This undermining of democracy has to end. We are here to demand proper representation at the decision-making table.”
Carol Nolan TD told the crowd: “There is absolutely no excusing the way the Government is excluding the pro-life movement from the three year review process. It is wholly unacceptable for the Minister for Health to repeatedly meet with pro-abortion groups for their views on what should happen as part of the review, while refusing to meet with any pro-life representatives.”
On the issue of not informing women about options other than abortion, the former UCD Students’ Union President, Katie Ascough said: “One of the deepest tragedies of 21st-century Ireland is this: at a time when science has advanced and society is supposed to have “progressed” — the people running our country think the best we can offer a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy are counsellors who facilitate abortion and who have no experience in exploring other options.”
She said however that the situation is “not all bleak” and that she remains “optimistic that the pro-life message will win out in the end — because our message is simple, clear, beautiful, and true.”
Jessica Tear from Galway, who faced an unplanned pregnancy at 18, told the gathering in Molesworth Street: “It makes me very sad to think that there are women who find themselves in situations similar to mine who end up having abortion all because the State run My Options service didn’t meet their needs or tell them about the supports and options other than abortion that are available. Women and their unborn babies deserve better. There needs to be a total overhaul of how State funded counselling in the area of unplanned pregnancy operates.”
Jessica, who continued her pregnancy, told the marchers: “It has been the most amazing time of my life having my son. He is growing so fast, it feels like yesterday he was my tiny newborn and now he is this cheeky little monkey, who never fails to put a smile on my face. My son is my everything and since having him it’s made me more determined to go to college and be a midwife to make him proud.”
Addressing the march, Dr Brendan Crowley from Cork said: “The new abortion law forces doctors to engage in non-evidenced based practices which consistently end the life of one patient and are often very harmful to the woman. How exactly is this not a very clear example of medicine being actively used as a tool by the State?” He said that freedom of conscience protections for healthcare workers “need to be strengthened not weakened.”
The keynote speaker at the march was Autumn Lindsey, spokesperson for Students for Life of America. She first came to prominence in 2017 when as a teenager she made a rebuttal video that was watched by millions in response to a Teen Vogue article making light of abortion. She sent strong words of encouragement to attendees:
“Abortion advocates want you to play defense. So, play offense. They may have been able to pass a law, but they cannot change the culture you have created here in Ireland. Life will triumph over death, and we will see abortion abolished in Ireland.”
Among the other members of the Oireachtas in attendance at today’s march were Senator Sharon Keogan and Senator Rónán Mullen.
Organisers said today’s event was the fourth in a series of Regional Marches organised by the Pro Life Campaign this year with the previous events taking place in Cork, Galway and Co. Donegal last May.