23 Powerful Reasons Irish Women Marched For Abortion Rights This Weekend

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.

1Because Everyone Should Be Able To Access Abortion

2Because Women Should Have Control

3Because No One Should Have To Cross A Border For Reproductive Rights

4Because Women Should Have Options

5Because Women Have Died

6Because Women Need Free, Safe, Legal Abortion

7Because Women Deserve More

8Because Decades Of Protests Should Lead To Change

9Because The Whole Damn System Is Wrong

10Because Irish Women Need Support

11Because This Is Not The Handmaid's Tale

12Because Women Deserve Dignity

13Because Women Should Be Trusted To Make Their Own Decisions

14Because Basic Human Rights Are Within Reach

15Because Women Should Not Be Sacrificed

16Because Young Women Demand Equality

17Because My Uterus Is My Business

18Because Some Women Can't Afford To Travel

19Because Women Should Not Be Denied Health Care

20Because Women's Rights Should Not Be Refused

21Because Women Want Bodily Autonomy

22Because Ovaries Are No Place For Rosaries

23Because Women Are More Than Their Wombs

Given Ireland's strict anti-abortion laws, thousands of Irish women each year are left without the opportunity to access safe, afforable health care. For many women, the consequences of this can be devastating.

The March for Choice was a powerful reminder that despite these challenges, so many women across the country are standing together to support one another and collectively raise their voices to ensure that reproductive rights are at the forefront of national dialogue.