Ireland’s Path to Legalizing Abortion

Ireland’s Path to Legalizing Abortion
At a time when the United States may render it illegal

Shirley Graham
July 5, 2018

On May 25, 2018, I traveled from Washington, D.C., to Dublin to vote in a referendum that would decide whether women in Ireland would have full access to their reproductive healthcare and rights. I was one of the 40,000 diaspora Irish who returned from different corners of the globe (only recent emigres were eligible) to be part of a feminist movement that would make history. When the repeal of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution was passed the next day with 66 percent voting in favor, the country heaved a collective sigh of relief.

In the lead-up to the referendum, women were forced to share previously untold stories of private ordeals and personal tragedies in order to persuade the Irish population that it could no longer export this problem to the United Kingdom.