ROSA (Reproductive rights against Oppression, Sexism & Austerity) began their national ‘Bus For Repeal’ campaign this morning on Monday the 6th March, outside the gates of UCD. The bus pulled up to UCD’s Stillorgan entrance at 8:30am this morning with the aim of distributing information relating to abortion, and raising awareness for women who may be in need of terminating a pregnancy in the future.
The venture by ROSA was organised in response to what they say is ‘a radical abortion ban’. ROSA is part of the continuously growing campaign for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment. The Eighth Amendment acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and puts it in equal standing to the life of the mother. It is currently under consideration by the Citizens’ Assembly who will deliver its recommendations to the Oireachtas for consideration in June. Speaking to breakingnews.ie, spokesperson for ROSA Rita Harrold explains that ‘we want to get the message out there about the need for repeal but also about the alternatives available in the meantime’. ‘We’ll be bringing that message around Ireland and college campuses, we have a leaflet outlining exactly how medical abortion works’.
The bus’s arrival on campus was protested by the members of the pro-life campaign. Pro-life activists revealed a large banner with graphic images of alleged foetuses at the Stillorgan entrance bus stop on campus, and disseminated literature. One prominent pro-life campaigner present John D Walsh tweeted afterwards, ‘we confronted the Rosa bus repeal crowd at UCD this morning. We could see minds changing from face expressions as they saw the images!’. The pro-life campaigners left to follow the Repeal Bus when it took off for its next stop in Waterford IT earlier today.
UCD For Choice were in attendance at the demonstration this morning to show their solidarity with the ‘Repeal Bus’ beginning its journey. While wary of the use of such medication, representatives spoke with the College Tribune and said that ‘UCD for Choice acknowledges the highly restrictive nature of the 8th amendment and feels that this campaign measure accurately reflects the lack of compassion that the 8th amendment and the government has for those looking to procure a safe and legal abortion’.
While the UCD Students’ Union initially exercised their support for the ‘Bus for Repeal’, they recently pulled their support bus coming onto campus. The SU say they are concerned about the medical supervision of the process and the fact that the bus does not offer follow up support to women who have undergone abortions. Despite the bus not actually providing abortion pills on demand, but however promoting already existing services like www.womenonweb.org. The Students’ Union Welfare Officer, Roisin O’Mara stated that she feels that ‘it is not an equitable solution to a major problem in our society’.
The bus will continue its journey across the state, heading onto Kildare, Limerick, Waterford, Cork and Galway before returning to Dublin.
Oisin McCanna | Politics Editor