On Saturday, tens of thousands of people marched through the streets of Dublin to demand that women across the country be granted access to abortion. Ireland will be holding a referendum next year to potentially repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution, one of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the world, and the opportunity to play a role in helping Irish women take control of their own reproductive rights is why so many women in Ireland joined the March For Choice this year.
The Eighth Amendment, established in the 1980s, states that unborn children have an equal right to life as their mothers, which makes abortion illegal in all but the most exceptional circumstances. In fact, it wasn't until 2013 that the country allowed the procedure to take place in cases where the mother’s life is in danger.
The country's strict laws push as many as 3,000 Irish women to travel to neighboring Britain each year to have an abortion, according to a recent study by the British Department of Health. This has galvanized women to take part in the annual March For Choice each year, but given that next year's referendum could very well completely re-shape Irish anti-abortion laws, this year's march is more urgent than ever.
“The referendum has kind of encouraged people to come out," a 27-year-old marcher told the New York Times.
Here's why other women decided to march for their rights.