DSC_0636

Women in numbers travel, shrouded in secrecy, from Ireland every year to get access to safe abortions. And as the upcoming referendum looms nearer, these women are becoming less silenced from influential supporters.

As the pro-choice side gears up to Repeal the 8th, support is being garnered from all corners of Ireland. One of the many influential supports comes from the theatre company Bump & Grind.

‘BUMP’, the theatres play written and directed by Rosa Bowden, is a one woman play about a girl in the waiting room of an abortion clinic. Speaking to Bowden, she said that there has been a lot of mutual support between BUMP and the coalition to Repeal the 8th.

‘We’ve mainly been engaging with them on social media mainly because the more we can all come together as one cause the more effective it will be. And I think we have gotten more audience numbers based on their promotion of us online. It’s just all the one cause.’

The play isn’t specifically about the Irish experience with abortion and for good reason according to Bowden. ‘It’s just about abortion and it’s to demystify the subject and give an unbiased account of it. We mainly wanted to tackle the idea of abortion on demand and using abortion as contraception and what that means. We want to take it out of that moral place it exists in here.’

As well as support from influential theatre groups, Repeal has some big names and organisations behind it. The Hunreal Issues, successful social media group, are a member of the coalition for Repeal the 8th who advocate for women’s issues in Ireland.

Hunreal approaches women’s issues on their site and social media in a way that young women, specifically Irish, can relate to through their use of language. The site, run by, has its own section about Repeal and why Hunreal Issues promote the campaign.

‘All the big guns around the world support access to safe abortion. World Health Organisation; Amnesty International and even the United Nations Committee has said abortion is a human right…We want the government to hear us and give us what we want: the power and right to choose what happens to our own stunning body. This will only happen if we get a referendum to Repeal the 8th Amendment.’

The site also contains facts for women to educate themselves on repeal and abortion such as 9 Irish women go abroad everyday to get abortions, meaning over 3,000 seek medical care for abortions every year outside of Ireland.

Blogger support on Instagram from the likes of hugely popular Anouska Proetta Brandon and Leanne Woodfull. Woodfull is an influential Irish blogger with a huge following of 65.3k on Instagram. Her support for the Repeal the 8th campaign is loud and outspoken, with her icon featuring the red heard Repeal logo.

On her blog, Thunder and Threads, Leanne penned an open letter to her fellow Irish influencers and bloggers about their silence when it comes to supporting Repeal the 8th. “Today’s youth look at bloggers and social media influencers quicker than they do television celebrities or pop stars. We have a bigger clout at our disposal, yet it goes to waste. Every single day. I have no respect for your silence.”

Woodfull carried on in her piece to explain the 8th Amendments current status “I’ve talked about Ireland’s abortion rights crisis on here before and discuss it constantly on social media so I’m sure many of you reading this are aware of the situation. If not, let me summarise: it’s currently ILLEGAL to have an abortion in Ireland. Free, safe and legal abortion access is not provided for women* (people* – we must remember to keep our language inclusive!), despite it being a basic healthcare option for most worldwide.”

Support and anger for lack of support from Irish personalities is mirrored by the staggering numbers of Irish women who seek abortions. Between 1980 and 2016, based on the UK Department of Health statistics, at least 168,703 women and girls who accessed UK abortion services provided Irish addresses according to the Irish Family Planning Agency (IFPA).

As the referendum looms, more and more influential people are giving their support to the Repeal campaign. While some are afraid to take such a political stance, there is no fear that Repeal the 8th will have influential support up until the end.

 

Helen O’Neill

Image credit: Rachel Farrell