Publication Date: February 28, 2018
Binding: Kobo eBook
Every year, large numbers of abortion seekers from Northern Ireland and the Republic travel to clinics on the British mainland to seek a safe and legal abortion denied them on their own turf. They come and go in secret, like being ‘on the run’, bearing a terrible burden of shame for two societies heavily influenced by Christian fundamentalism, Catholic and Protestant. Ireland’s Hidden Diaspora: The Abortion Trail and the Making of a London-Irish Underground, 1980-2000 unmasks the hidden story of London-Irish women who supported abortion seekers before, during and after their lonely and often frightening journey across the Irish Sea. This book is not an account of the experience of abortion seekers themselves: most have yet to speak out. Rather, the book is a history of these brave London-Irish women and a record of their campaigns for a change in the law in both Irish states. The supporters and campaigners were members of the feminist Irish Women’s Abortion Support Group (IWASG) and the Irish Abortion Solidarity Campaign (Iasc). The book is a testament to their tireless voluntary work over a twenty-year period from the early 1980s to 2000, much of which was conducted undercover. At a seminal moment in the bleak history of Irish women’s reproductive rights, with progressive change in abortion law in the Republic of Ireland likely to take place in 2018, this volume provides an important backdrop to the long struggle for safe and legal abortion. It is also a contribution to many of the debates in Irish feminism and thorny questions such as bodily autonomy, the fusion of ethnic and religious identities, comparison between Irish and continental European versions of Catholicism, fundamentalist Protestantism, diaspora, feminist philanthropy, culture and multiculturalism.