How Europe celebrated International Women’s Day

March 8 marked International Women’s Day and protests took place in major cities all over the world.

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Women all over the world took to the streets to protest for their rights. From equal rights to Donald Trump to the hot topic of abortion.

Abortion is a worldwide argument and the law on abortion varies from country to country. But within the EU the variations are dramatic.

Whatever the law or religion in these countries, public opinion is changing and making an impact.

Back in October thousands of Polish women who took to the streets in the czarny protest, translated to the black protest.

They were protesting the controversial proposal to ban abortion in Poland.

Abortion is already quite restricted but this proposal was wanting to implicate a complete blanket ban. This was not received well and women took to the streets donning black clothes to mourn their loss of rights. The amount of people who took to the streets in protest led to the overturning of the proposed plan.

Polish organisation, the Federation for women and family planning, were heavily involved with the protests and believe that safe and legal abortion is a fundamental right to everyone. They also say that the law in Poland discriminates against certain women saying that the law’s ‘impact varies among different groups of women depending on their socio-economic status.’

On International Women’s Day Poland had further protests outside the Law and Justice party building demanding reproductive rights as they wrote on a ‘wall of fury.’

Despite the countries deeply religious traits, these protests clearly show that public opinion is changing.

The same can be said in another religious EU country; Ireland.

Ireland is a hot bed for discussion on abortion, currently the law is that abortion is illegal. This is due to the 8th Amendment. This is the amendment that essentially makes the rights of a foetus equal to the mother.

Over the week leading up to International Women’s Day, cities in Ireland such as Limerick and Cork saw some of its pro-choice biggest protests.

A pro-choice group in Ireland named ROSA, toured around Ireland on an ‘abortion bus’ on the days leading up to International Woman’s Day finally arriving in Dublin on the day itself.

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The ‘Strike for Repeal’ had huge support on International Women’s Day with 8,000 people standing on the main bridge in the centre of Dublin at midday, and 12,000 people who marched in the evening. This shows an immense amount of support for the pro-choice movement in Ireland.

In Ireland many women travel to England for a termination, on average 12 women a day which could cost them up to £2,000.

There are groups both in England and Ireland who try to help these women. Abortion Support Network (ASN) is just one of them who try to help these women as much as they can.

ASN is a small charity based in London, which started in 2009. They help women travel from Ireland or Northern Ireland by providing financial aid and accommodation. They do everything they can to help the client, by offering information on what airlines will accept other forms of ID apart from passports and which clinics offer an Irish discount.

The Founder of ASN, Mara Clarke, says they don’t ask their clients why they want abortions and feels it is their place to help not judge. Mara believes being a parent is a big choice and that ‘parenthood should not be the punishment for a broken condom or a lapse in judgement or not having £400 to £2,000 in the bank.’

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