The Abortion Rights Campaign activists have been quietly and diligently working very hard for months to make this magnificent march happen. They are all volunteers from; graphic designers, to the steward coordinators, posterers, media workers, artists, staging organisers and sound system runners, speakers, t-shirts, high vis, legal observers, speak-out organisers, treasurers, permissions from Gardai and a million other vital and challenging tasks, all down to the very last social media commentator. No-one gets paid and everyone does this in their free time.
The regional turnout itself was an incredible testament to the hard work done in terms of outreach and education, some things that AFC also value highly on our journey to free, safe and legal abortion. Our specific legislation may be different across the border, but we know that the stories are the same. Stories of secrecy, of desperation to raise enough cash in time, of wondering who to go to for help, who to confide in when the health system lets you down, where to stay, who to talk to when you need to take pills in these jurisdictions, how to not face the wrath of the law... our fight is one and the same and our enemy is the political establishment.
This long fight toward freedom and full recognition as equals, is built on the shoulders of every feminist in Ireland who came before us. The March saw women, men, trans and non-binary people from every generation, those who remember DIY abortions before the EMA pill, those who remember the advent of the 1967 Act, right down to those born under the 8th Amendment. Every one of those 40,000 (at least!) people felt strongly enough about a woman's right to choose that they donned their walking shoes and took to the streets.
What was different this year than in previous years? Aside from the huge growth in marching numbers, there was the public, in previous years they have been bystanders, this year they were supporters, many in Repeal jumpers, free safe legal t-shirts and some even with home-made supportive placards. We are witnessing the turnaround of a whole people, we are coming out of the dark times that locked women up and forced them into slavery for the crime of being pregnant, finally, even the general public in Ireland are willing to openly support the idea that every child should be a wanted child and every mother a willing one.
We can all safely say after Saturday, that a change is gonna come and yes, the march was an incredible endorsement to the power of sisterhood and a well needed boost in our energy before the battle ahead, but marching alone won't bring about change and there is so much more work to be done.
If you are in the South of Ireland you can get involved: https://www.abortionrightscampaign.ie/get-involved/
Or Donate: https://www.abortionrightscampaign.ie/get-involved/donate/
Also Rally for Choice in the North are holding a Rally in Belfast on the 14th October: