Tens of Thousands join Pro-Choice march in Dublin

An estimated 20,000 people marched in Dublin on Saturday in support of Ireland's abortion laws being relaxed in the 2018 referendum.

The March for Choice which took place on Saturday is believed to have been the biggest to date, coming less than a week after Leo Varadkar, the taoiseach, told the Irish parliament that there would be a referendum on the country's abortion laws in May or June next year. Protests were also held in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Brussels in solidrity with the marchers in Dublin

As it stands, the eighth amendement Ireland's constitution marks the right to life of both the mother and unborn child, and abortions are only permissible in cases where the mother's life is in danger.

As a result, many women travel abroad to terminate their pregnancies. In 2015, 3,265 women travelled from Ireland to England for abortions, according to figures produced by the British Department of Health.

To commemorate the 205,704 Irish and Northern Irish women who travelled to Britain for an abortion since 1983, 205,704 chalk markings were made on the pavement outside the Irish Embassy in London.

Members of the London Irish Abortion Rights campaign made 205,704 chalk markings on the pavement outside the Irish Embassy, to commemorate the 205,704 Irish and Northern Irish women who have travelled to Britain for an abortion since the introduction of the Eighth Amendment in 1983.

The Irish government are being pressured by the human rights arms of the United Nations and Council of Europe to decriminalise abortion and make it available for cases of fatal fetal abnormality, rape or incest.

However, pro-choice activists would like to abortion being available on request, as in England where terminations can be carried out until 24 weeks after conception regardless of the circumstance. These groups fear that the referendum will be worded in a way that allows for the revision of the constitution's eighth amendment rather than its full repeal.