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The Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC) is an Irish pro-choice group. Its main aim is the introduction of free, safe and legal abortion care in Ireland and Northern Ireland.[1] A significant aim prior to May 2018 was the repeal of the Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution, which was achieved by the successful passing of the Thirty-Sixth Amendment 2018. ARC also campaigns for the Northern Ireland Assembly to introduce extensive abortion legislation in common with the rest of the United Kingdom and "to ensure the health of women in pregnancy is protected in line with international human rights standards".[2] ARC supports the full decriminalisation of abortion in Ireland.[3]

Abortion Rights Campaign
Formation10 July 2012; 7 years ago (2012-07-10)
TypePro Choice lobby group


The Abortion Rights Campaign was formed on 10 July 2012, when 40 people came together. Initially formed as the Irish Choice Network, after another meeting in the Gresham Hotel in Dublin on 8 December 2012 and another meeting in 19 January 2013 the Abortion Rights Campaign was formally launched. It has organised the annual March for Choice in Dublin since 2013.

Many Irish politicians have supported ARC's aims, such as Richard Boyd Barrett (Anti-Austerity Alliance–People Before Profit), Catherine Murphy (Social Democrats), Mick Wallace, Joan Collins and Clare Daly (Independents 4 Change).[4]. However ARC itself is not affiliated with any political party.[5]

ARC was one of the main partner organisations in Together for Yes, the civil society group advocating a Yes vote in the 2018 referendum. One of ARC's founding members was a co-director of Together for Yes.[6] ARC's network of regional groups across the island of Ireland formed the basis for many Together for Yes groups in several counties in Ireland.

In January 2016, they received a grant of €23,000 from Open Society Foundation for "educational and stigma-busting projects." SIPO reasoned that the money had been raised for a political purpose. The ARC returned the money in November 2016, while disagreeing with the finding. The story was first published in The Irish Catholic in late March 2017.[7][8][9][10]


ARC is an all-volunteer, non-hierarchical organisation. Membership elect a Convening Group annually, which convenes a Steering Group made up of representatives of several working groups and regional groups. Ongoing decision-making is carried out by the Steering Group during regular meetings. There is no one leader or spokesperson of ARC as the Convening and Working Group roles change on a regular basis. This structure is designed to encourage engagement and activity by all members, and to avoid power hierarchies.[11]

March for ChoiceEdit

The Abortion Rights Campaign's most visible event is the annual March for Choice, normally held on the Global Day of Action for Safe and Legal Access to Abortion. The March is organised by ARC and attended by the public, as well as various national pro-choice groups, including trade unions such as Unite, Mandate, Teachers Union of Ireland, National Union of Journalists and Union of Students in Ireland, political parties including Labour, Solidarity–People Before Profit, and the Social Democrats, and international groups such as Catholics for Choice.[12][13]

The most recent March for Choice was held on 29 September 2018, the first since the vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment.[14] The theme was 'Free Safe Legal', the slogan of ARC, and was chosen to "show [their] support for stigma-free abortion access for anyone who wants or needs one, regardless of their financial or legal status".[15]

Speakers included ARC co-conveners Sarah Monaghan and Denise O'Toole, Zanele Sibindi of Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland, Evie Nevin of Disabled Women for Yes and Emma Campbell and Kellie O'Dowd from the Belfast-based Alliance for Choice.[14]

The 2017 March for Choice was held on 30 September and over 40,000 people took part. The rally at the march's conclusion was addressed by Bernadette Devlin McAliskey. Additional "sympathy marches" were held in 20 cities around the world, including London, Sydney and Nicosia.[16][17]


  1. ^ Abortion Rights Campaign (15 December 2016). "Submission to the Citizens' Assembly": 1. Retrieved 22 June 2018. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ "About ARC | Abortion Rights Campaign Ireland". Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  3. ^ "Abortion must be fully decriminalised". Abortion Rights Campaign Blog. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  4. ^ Kitty Holland (27 September 2014). "March For Choice Attracts Thousands In Dublin". Irish Times. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  5. ^ Abortion Rights Campaign. "ARC is not affiliated to any political party". Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  6. ^ "Together for Yes Executive". Together for Yes. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  7. ^ McMahon, Aine (1 April 2017). "Abortion Rights Campaign group returns US donation after SIPO warning". The Irish Times.
  8. ^ Ní Aodha, Gráinne (1 April 2017). "Abortion Rights Campaign gives back €23,000 US donation".
  9. ^ Abortion Rights IE [@freesafelegal] (1 April 2017). "Abortion Rights Campaign gives back €23,000 US donation (via @thejournal_ie)" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  10. ^ Daly, Greg (30 March 2017). "Pro-repeal group return billionaire's cash after ethics watchdog probe". The Irish Catholic.
  11. ^ Abortion Rights Campaign (6 December 2017). "Annual Report 2015": 8–9. Retrieved 22 June 2018. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. ^ Kitty Holland (27 September 2014). "'March for Choice' attracts thousands in Dublin". Irish Times. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  13. ^ Mary Carolan (27 September 2013). "Campaign for legal abortions says new laws too restrictive". Irish Times. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  14. ^ a b Barry, Aoife (29 September 2018). "Large crowds as March for Choice takes place in Dublin". The Journal. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  15. ^ "March for Choice 29th September". Abortion Rights Campaign. 16 September 2018. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  16. ^ "Tens of thousands take part in March for Choice rally". RTÉ. 30 September 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  17. ^ "Thousands attend Dublin abortion rights protest". The Irish Times. 30 September 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2017.

External linksEdit