The actions detailed on this page outline our consistent efforts to act in solidarity with pro-choice activists in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and across the UK.
‘Repeating Histories’ with My Belly is Mine and London Irish Feminist Network:
In the summer of 2014, regressive anti-choice legislation was proposed in Spain. Spanish pro-choice activists mobilized to counter this legislation and it was successfully prevented from passing. Speaking of IMELDA worked in solidarity with the London-based group, My Belly is Mine, which was established to counter the proposed anti-choice legislation in Spain and London-Irish Feminist Network to make the short film ‘Repeating Histories.’ In the film the present-day activities of grassroots collectives are introduced in the context of a discussion by two women; Ann Rossiter (from Ireland) and Isabel Ros López (from Spain). Both have been pro-choice activists in London since the 1980’s. The film charts the work of two organizations set up at this time, the Irish Women’s Abortion Support Group (IWASG) and the Spanish Women’s Abortion Support Group (SWASG). These organizations provided information and practical support to thousands of Spanish and Irish women who were forced to travel to London to obtain safe and legal abortions.
March for Choice in Dublin organised by the Abortion Rights Campaign
Knickers for Choice
27th September 2014
At the 2014 March for Choice we paraded a giant pair of #knickersforchoice and wiped down monuments along the march route, demonstrating how we intended to clean up the Irish state’s dirty laundry.
See video footage in The Irish Times: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/march-for-choice-attracts-thousands-in-dublin-1.1944267
26th September 2015
Dressed as female bishops at March for Choice 2015, we delivered a speech to the crowd that criticized Pope Francis’ announcement that for almost one year only - women who have had abortions can to be absolved by the Catholic church. We rejected such ‘phoney concessions’ or ‘absolution’ from those who have enacted such brutal misogyny against women in Ireland historically – in the Magdalen Laundries, in Mother and Baby Homes and through the practice of Symphysiotomy. In our pro-choice sermon we instead encouraged marchers to absolve themselves of patriarchy, misogyny and hypocrisy and to absolve themselves of the continued attempts to shame and stigmatize. In a rallying call we declared ‘YOU ARE THE MORAL AGENTS OF YOUR OWN BODIES. DEMAND YOUR LONG OVERDUE RIGHTS TO FULL BODILY AUTONOMY.’ We later absolved marchers along the route by showering them with glitter from Virgin Mary holy water bottles.
24th September 2016
In response to the theme ‘Rise and Repeal’, in the centenary of the 1916 Rising against British rule, we appeared at the march dressed as risen rebels returned from a future in which free, safe, legal abortion was fully accessible across the island of Ireland. Wearing turbo-powered futuristic back-packs and waving rubber lily wands, we informed the marchers of the joys of this soon-to-be Ireland, paying homage to them as the risen rebels of the future.
This is not Wonderland
30th September 2017
In response to the theme of March for Choice ‘Time to Act’, the IMELDA’s dressed as characters from the children’s fairytale Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Appearing simultaneously in Dublin and at the solidarity event in London, the IMELDA’s highlighted the absurdity of Ireland’s anti-choice laws. Re-imagining the emphasis on time and lateness in the original book, the IMELDA’s outlined that when one’s period is late and one needs to access an abortion one is trapped in the time-warped rabbit warren of Ireland’s anti-choice laws. Highlighting the confusion faced by abortion seekers, on discovering that she was late our Alice-like IMELDA asked directions of the Cheshire Cat and White Rabbit to get to an abortion clinic by ferry or plane. Drawing on the Mad-Hatter’s tea party, our IMELDA Mad-Hatter highlighted how legislation in Ireland treats women like vessels, similar to a teapot and how the 8th Amendment is like a riddle with no answer. Our IMELDA mouse pointed to the need to get rid of juries and trials when it comes to women’s reproductive health. While our IMELDA Queen of Hearts demonstrated that it is England that takes care of those from Ireland needing an abortion and called on the Irish state to ‘have a heart.’
Rally for Choice, Belfast organised by Rally for Choice
2nd July 2016
At the first Rally for Choice in Belfast we dressed as super-Shero’s and paid homage to local pro-choice activists by sticking stickers that said ‘SHERO’ on those attending the rally. In a speech given at the end of the Rally we praised the courage and activism of Collette Devlin, Diana King and Kitty O’ Kane. Referred to as ‘The Derry Three,’ these women handed themselves in for arrest for taking and procuring the abortion pill in response to the prosecution of a young woman in Northern Ireland for taking the abortion pill.
This is Not Wonderland
14 October 2017
At the second Rally for Choice, Belfast IMELDA’s showed up the absurdity of the situation faced by women in Northern Ireland needing to access abortion. The IMELDAs dressed as characters from the famous children’s book Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Dressed as the time-conscious white rabbit and the Queen of Hearts, the IMELDA’s demonstrated how anti-choice laws delay people accessing abortion and punish women. Referring to Arlene Foster, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), they chanted ‘tick tock, tick tock, tick tock. Down the rabbit hole, Arlene says “Off with her head”. IMELDA says “I want choice instead.”’
Feminist Solidarity in London
The Renunciation: 1st of February 2016 (St. Brigid’s Day)
The Renunciation is a production by home|work, an initiative that collectively confronts the themes of censorship and self-censorship through art, action, performance, conversation and camradery.The Renunciation contains a set of stories that describe a set of social rituals for 12+ people from Ireland seeking abortions daily. In solidarity with a number of groups across Ireland and the UK Speaking of IMELDA performed The Renunciation at Kings Cross Station, London.
We Will Not be DUPed’ - Demo outside Downing Street
22nd of June 2017
We co-organised this demo after the establishment of the DUP-Tory alliance following the General Election 2017 by forming the Reproductive Rights Coalition with other feminist organisations. The demo sent a clear message to the DUP, Westminster, and the world that we oppose the sustained denial of basic reproductive rights in Northern Ireland. We demanded Northern Irish politicians #trustwomen as we stood in solidarity with Assigned Female at Birth (AFAB) in Northern Ireland and our friends at Alliance For Choice.
The demo was organised by Speaking of IMELDA, London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign, Stop Trump, Forth Wave: London Feminist Activists. Speakers included Mara Clarke of Abortion Support Network, Speaking of IMEDLA, Ann Rossiter a former member of the Irish Women's Abortion Support Group (IWASG), Kerry Abel from Abortion Rights, Sophie Walker from The Women's Equality Party and Fourth Wave: London Feminist Activists.
Solidarity with Sister Supporter #EalingMakesHistory
10th October 2017
On Tuesday 10th October 2017, Speaking of IMELDA stood in firm solidarity with the feminist organization Sister Supporter outside Ealing Town Hall. Inside the Town Hall activists from Sister Supporter outlined the need to end the harassment and intimidation of women entering the Mattock Lane Marie Stopes Clinic in Ealing by anti-choice groups. In a landmark vote members of Ealing Council voted to “fully explore every possible option” and take all “necessary actions within its powers, utilising all necessary resources, to prevent anti-abortion protestors from intimidating and harassing women.” Addressing pro-choice campaigners outside the Town Hall the IMELDA’s outlined how clinic harassment impacts on women traveling from the island of Ireland to access abortion in England.
Please see the following article for further information:
Niamh McIntyre, ‘Landmark Vote Will Stop Anti-Abortion Protestors Form Harassing Women’ Broadly Vice (11 October 2017) https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/vb7azb/london-ealing-council-votes-anti-abortion-ban