'Bus 4 Repeal' begins Irish tour

Both sides in the divisive debate on Ireland's abortion laws will travel to colleges and city centres around the country this week

Pro-choice campaigners will begin a three-day tour around parts of Ireland today calling for a repeal of the 8th Amendment.

The 'Bus 4 Repeal' has departed from UCD in Dublin and will visit cities and colleges in Waterford, Cork, Limerick, Kildare and Galway.

The campaign organisers are aiming to bring an end to what they view as the delay to a potential referendum on the Eighth Amendment - and provide access to medical abortion pills in the cities and colleges it visits.

The bus will complete its tour on International Women's Day this Wednesday March 8th with a rally at 3pm at the Central Bank in Dublin.

The campaign is organised by ROSA (Reproductive rights against Oppression, Sexism & Austerity).

File photo, ROSA campaigners including Anti Austerity Alliance TD Ruth Coppinger launching the Bus 4 Repeal campaign, 14-02-2017. Image: RollingNews

ROSA spokesperson Rita Harrold said the tour is timely – given the Citizens Assembly discussions over the weekend:

“We would encourage people to come out and show their solidarity with women who need these services this week, because the Citizens’ Assembly has been discussing these issues over the weekend and in that time women have travelled to the UK and women have been using abortion pills at home,” she said.

“The bus is quite visual [...] we want to really get the message out there about the need for repeal but also the alternatives available in the mean time.

“We will be bringing that message around Ireland and to college campuses; we have a leaflet outlining exactly how a medical abortion works.”

The tour has angered anti-abortion activists who are planning a counter-campaign which will follow the ROSA bus and display graphic images they claim highlight the dangers of abortion.

The group behind the counter-campaign, the Irish Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (ICBR) said women in other jurisdictions have changed their minds on terminating a pregnancy after the seeing the graphic images.

The coalition to repeal the Eighth Amendment made their submissions to the Citizens’ Assembly yesterday afternoon calling for the decriminalisation of abortion - including the abortion pill - and a guarantee ensuring women receive unimpeded access to the highest international standards of reproductive healthcare.