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Why protesters in 30 cities across the world marched to #Repealthe8th

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Thousands of campaigners took to the streets this weekend united in their ambition to abolish one of Ireland's most controversial laws: the Eighth Amendment.

The ruling equates the life of a woman with that of an embryo or foetus and therefore criminalises abortion in all cases, unless the pregnancy could result in death.

Since 1980, over 166,000 Irish women have been forced to travel to a different country to access a safe abortion, with at least nine women per day travelling from Ireland to seek an abortion last year.

The ruling, which was passed in 1883, is hotly contested by thousands of people both in Ireland and across the world, as shown by this weekend's demonstrations, held in cities from Sydney and New York to Phnom Penh.

The global demonstration coincided with the Abortion Rights Campaign's (ARC) March For Choice, which took place on Saturday and saw tens of thousands of placard-waving people stride through the streets of Dublin.

This was the fifth March for Choice organised by the ARC, a movement in Ireland that fights to repeal the 8th, which can see women who seek an abortion imprisoned for up to 14 years.

“The government are going to have to listen. All these women are here fighting and we’re going to continue to fight. It’ll take time but we’ll get there,” protester Maria Lorenco, from Belfast, told The Irish Times.

The 8th Amendment came under global scrutiny earlier this year when a woman in Northern Ireland was handed a prison sentence for inducing her own abortion using pills she bought online.

Amnesty International later condemned the criminalisation of the woman, with Patrick Corrigan,  Amnesty International's Northern Ireland director, saying in a statement, "A woman who needs an abortion is not a criminal - the law should not treat her as such."

And just last month the story of two women travelling from Ireland to England to get abortions went viral, with the pair tweeting every detail of their journey under the handle @TwoWomenTravel

"We had to travel because our government insists that we pretend that this isn’t happening… [and] our journey ends here tonight, but the struggle for our reproductive freedom continues,” they wrote.

You can see a selection of the powerful social media posts from those who marched this weekend below, as well as watch We Face This Land, a video created by Project Repeal to demonstrate the need to repeal the 8th.

Related

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#TwoWomenTravel: Irish women live-tweet abortion journey

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Rape victim, 13, refused access to an abortion

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#Repealthe8th: woman shares powerful teen abortion story

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