About Speaking of IMELDA
Speaking of IMELDA are a direct-action feminist performance group based in London. We are a non-hierarchal, intergenerational collective, which includes former members of Irish Women’s Abortion Support Group (IWASG), who supported women traveling to England for abortions between 1980 and 2000. The name Imelda was originally used as a code-name for abortion by IWASG, who also often wore a red skirt so as to be identified by women traveling. In reclaiming the name IMELDA and wearing red in our actions, we pay homage to previous reproductive rights activists.
We deploy interventionist style performance to upend the pretence that Ireland is ‘abortion free’ by highlighting that people travel daily to Britain to access abortion. Our actions have been aimed at breaking down the barriers that prevent women from speaking freely about abortion. We operate against the shaming and silencing of those who have abortions, challenging the stereotypes of the quiet and pure Irish woman. Sometimes audacious and often uninvited, our actions unapologetically declare the right to bodily integrity and reproductive autonomy.
We campaign to Repeal the 8th Amendment to the Constitution of Ireland, which in 1983 legislated that the unborn foetus has equal rights to life as the mother. We also campaign to enable access to free, safe, legal and local abortion services in Northern Ireland where, unlike the rest of the UK, abortion remains illegal under the 1861 Offences Against the Persons Act. We have featured extensively in high-profile newspapers and other publications and have presented in universities, conferences, events, exhibitions and on radio.
Browse the website, using the tabs to view video documentation and images of our actions, read our writing and blogs and access links to press coverage.