The Workers’ Party today held a major rally calling for a Yes vote in the upcoming referendum to remove the 8th amendment from the constitution. The rally took place in the offices of CONNECT Trade Union on Saturday evening, 12th May.
The meeting, which was chaired by Dublin City Councillor for the Workers’ Party, Éilis Ryan, featured speakers from the Portuguese Communist Party, American campaigners Catholics for Choice and a number of Irish trade unionists and campaigners.
Ines Zuber, former MEP for the Portuguese Communist Party, addressed the meeting saying: “In Portugal, in 2007 we had a referendum victory that brought to an end one of the most backward legal frameworks for women in all Europe. Prior to 2007, any pregnant woman who had an abortion could be punished with prison for up to 3 years.
“What we have seen over the past 11 years has been the continuous year on year decrease in the number of abortions, as well as a reduction in complications resulting from clandestine abortions.”
Jon O’Brien, President of Catholics for Choice, speaking at the event, said:
“A majority of Catholics have moved past the narrow dogma which was preached from the pulpit in the past in Ireland. They understand that we must trust Irish women to make their own moral and deeply personal decisions about contraception and abortion. A Yes vote is a vote for freedom of conscience and empathy for your fellow citizens, and as such there is no contradiction between being Catholic and being pro-choice.”
Máirín de Búrca, founder of the Irish Women’s Liberation Movement and former General Secretary of the Workers’ Party’s predecessor, Official Sinn Féin, said:
“I believe that this vote is the final frontier for women and that, finally, after centuries of control by states and churches, women will be able to have choice and control over their bodies and their lives.”
Cathie Shiels, representative for the Workers’ Party, concluded the meeting saying:
“Allowing free, safe and legal access to abortion care is essential to any society where men and women are truly equal. This means trusting that women, when they become pregnant unexpectedly, make the absolute best decision they possibly can, in their own individual circumstances – and that no law or religion has the right to intrude on that.”