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March4Repeal Press Release

PRESS STATEMENT
International Women’s Day, March 8, 2017

International Women’s Day, originally International Women Workers Day, was set up to campaign for women’s rights. Inspired by the workers’ movement, it was marked for the first time in 1911. Today, March 8, 2017, over a 100 years later, women and men in Ireland continue the fight for equality. At 5.30pm outside the Garden of Remembrance, trade unionists gather to march with our partners, sisters, daughters, friends, co-workers, comrades and fellow repeal activists to demand a referendum to repeal Article 40.3.3 (8th Amendment).

Maggie Ryan of the Trade Union Campaign to Repeal the 8th says:
“Besides putting women and doctors at risk of criminalisation, Ireland’s abortion ban leaves low income and welfare dependent women without an option when they have a crisis pregnancy. It does the same for women and girls whose immigration or visa status means they cannot leave the island. It forces women to take time off work to travel and leaves them fearful of seeking after care services. These women and girls are our sisters, daughters, friends, co-workers.

“The Trade Union Campaign to Repeal the 8th believes that if women can’t make decisions about their own bodies, they are denied equality. As workers and as trade unionists we need to talk about the 8th Amendment and work together to ensure all unions join the campaign for its repeal.”

David Joyce, equality officer, Irish Congress of Trade Unions, says:
“Congress is the largest civil society organisation on the island of Ireland, representing and campaigning on behalf of some 800,000 working people. More than half of our membership is female. Congress seeks to achieve a just society, one which recognises the rights of all workers and citizens to enjoy the prosperity and fulfilment which leads to a good quality of life. We believe that access to sexual and reproductive health services is crucial to women’s health and well-being. It is unacceptable that they live in a country where the law puts their health and lives at risk, criminalises them and forces them to travel abroad to avail of safe and legal abortion services.

“We support the Trade Union Campaign to Repeal the 8th and join their call for the state to make the necessary arrangements to hold a referendum to remove Article 40.3.3 (the 8th Amendment) from the Constitution.”

Jimmy Kelly, regional secretary, Unite, says:
“Unite is a pro-choice union, a position reaffirmed at the 2015 Irish Policy Conference. The right to choose is a trade union issue affecting tens of thousands of working women in Ireland, and that’s why Unite activists will be joining the Trade Union Campaign to Repeal the 8th Amendment at the March4Repeal. Reproductive rights have transformed the lives of working women – yet women in Ireland are still denied one of the most crucial reproductive rights, the right to access abortion on this island.

“Thousands of women are forced to travel each year to avail of abortion services elsewhere. Other women – those who are financially or physically unable to travel, or who lack the necessary documentation – face severe hardship in trying to access a safe and routine medical procedure abroad. The time has come to repeal the 8th Amendment.”

Steve Fitzpatrick, general secretary, Communications Workers Union, says:
“The CWU supports the growing Trade Union Campaign to Repeal the 8th Amendment and we encourage our members to attend the March4Repeal. We stand in solidarity with other unions involved in this campaign in calling for a referendum.”

Anne Speed and Patricia McKeown of UNISON say:
“UNISON women across Northern Ireland together with trade union women across the island call on legislators to recognise and uphold the human rights of women. We insist that the mental and physical health of women must be supported and upheld in law.”
Ends

Who we are
The Trade Union Campaign to Repeal the 8th is a group of activists who are building a campaign in the unions for repeal.

We are supported by the CWU, Impact, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Mandate, the TEEU, Unite, the youth committees of ICTU, Unite and the CWU, the Dublin, Bray & District and Waterford trades councils and in the UK by the TUC, ASLEF and Unison. We are affiliated to the Coalition to Repeal the 8th Amendment.

Mail us at Info@tradeunions4repeal.ie; visit our website: http://tradeunions4repeal.ie

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