How One of Ireland’s Leading Abortion Rights Activists Sees the Future of Roe

MAY 6, 2022

Like many people I was not surprised at the publication of a leaked document suggesting that a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court is on the brink of overturning Roe v. Wade. Although I think the extent to which Justice Alito absolutely wrote off Roe v. Wade effectively saying it’s unworkable, unconstitutional, unacceptable, that is really appalling. I felt quite devastated for women in the 26 states, and maybe more, who will likely not be able to access to abortion and would have to travel.

I’m extremely concerned about what this says and what this means for women’s rights more broadly in the U.S., because while this is directed at the right to abortion, it is also more fundamentally about women’s freedom, our freedom over our bodies, our freedom to make decisions about our own lives, our freedom to be full and fully functioning citizens.


‘Her Heart Was Beating Too’: The Women Who Died After Abortion Bans

Nov. 29, 2021
By Sarah Wildman

In 2012, Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old married dentist, appeared at Ireland’s University Hospital Galway in pain. She was 17 weeks pregnant and miscarrying. According to Dr. Halappanavar’s husband, hospital staff said that there was no saving the pregnancy, but they refused to intercede because her fetus still had a heartbeat. She was told her only option was to wait.

Dr. Halappanavar became feverish. By the time the fetal heartbeat faded away, she was in organ failure. Two and a half days later, she was dead.


Ireland – Government U-turn on safe access zones at abortion clinics

SAT, 07 AUG, 2021

The Government has scrapped promised laws to introduce safe access zones outside maternity hospitals and clinics providing abortion services.

Campaigners have hit out at Health Minister Stephen Donnelly for quietly shelving legislation to protect women and staff from intimidation when entering healthcare facilities, accusing him of "disregarding the electorate" and "disrespecting pregnant women".


The 8th: Ireland, the abortion referendum. You can feel the tectonic plates shifting

TV: This highly watchable film chronicles the Repeal side’s winning campaign of 2018

Wed, Aug 4, 2021
Ed Power

The historic significance of the vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, in the referendum of 2018, was lost on nobody at the time. Three years later, The 8th (RTÉ One, Wednesday, 9.35pm) captures the sense that tectonic plates were shifting under Irish society as the electorate went to the polls to allow abortion in Ireland.

The 8th, which comes to television after a video-on-demand run earlier this year, is told largely from the perspective of the Repeal campaign, particularly that of the veteran women’s-rights advocate Ailbhe Smyth. The point she and other campaigners make over and over is that, although the vote was of course about restoring to women their bodily autonomy, the wider context was the State’s beginning a long journey of atonement for decades of institutionalised misogyny.


Ireland still does not have the women-centred abortion service people voted for

Ireland still does not have the women-centred abortion service people voted for

Published: Thursday, December 19, 2019
National Women’s Council of Ireland

As the first year of legal abortion provision for women in Ireland comes to a close, the Abortion Working Group, chaired by the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) and made up of 23 groups working together to ensure safe access to abortion, today raised urgent concerns about the current state of local services, and a lack of leadership.

Orla O’Connor, Chair of the Abortion Working Group and Director of NWCI said,


Abortion, Newly Legal in Ireland, Faces Old Roadblocks

Abortion, Newly Legal in Ireland, Faces Old Roadblocks

By Ceylan Yeginsu
Jan. 28, 2019

DUBLIN — The abortion clinic’s website pops up at the top of a Google search for “free ultrasound,” its content and color scheme mimicking the government’s new support service for unplanned pregnancy.

“Looking for abortion advice?” “How far along am I?” The bright orange speech bubbles attached to stock images of smiling medical experts purport to inform women about abortion options that became legally available in Ireland on Jan. 1.


Ireland – Call for immediate exclusion zones after anti-abortion picket

Call for immediate exclusion zones after anti-abortion picket
HSE warns websites are claiming to offer services using variation of official MyOptions site

Jan 4, 2019
Vivienne Clarke, Paul Cullen

Veteran abortion services campaigner Ailbhe Smyth has called on the Minister for Health Simon Harris to introduce legislation immediately for exclusion zones around medical practices offering terminations.

Ms Smyth’s call, on Newstalk’s Breakfast programme, comes after an anti-abortion group protested outside a Galway GP practice on Thursday, just three days after termination services became legal in the State.

Activists protest against Ireland’s new abortion services

Activists protest against Ireland's new abortion services
Pro-choice groups condemn picket of clinic as health service warns of fake websites

Rory Carroll, Ireland correspondent
Fri 4 Jan 2019

Anti-abortion activists have struck back against Ireland’s introduction of abortion services by picketing a clinic and by launching potentially misleading websites that mimic the state’s support service for unplanned pregnancies.

A group holding placards protested outside a doctor’s office in Galway on Thursday in an effort to deter women from seeking abortion pills just three days after abortion services became legal.


Timeline: The history of abortion in Ireland

Timeline: The history of abortion in Ireland
Ireland voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment in May of this year.

Dec 30. 2018

The amendment, which gave equal status to the life of the mother and the life of the unborn, was added to the Constitution in 1983. Some people had been campaigning for its removal from Bunreacht na hÉireann since then, while others fiercely defended it.

The country voted by 66.4% to 33.6% to remove the amendment, with over two million votes cast.


Ireland – Abortion campaigners hail ‘historic day’ but eye changes

Abortion campaigners hail ‘historic day’ but eye changes
Activists celebrate but urge full decriminalisation and removal of three-day wait period

Dec 13, 2018
Jennifer Bray

Ailbhe Smyth heard around 4pm that there was a possibility that legislation clearing the way for abortion in Ireland could pass earlier than the expected 10pm finishing time.

She hopped on a Luas and headed to the city centre to make her way to Leinster House. Following years of effort, this was not a moment to miss. She was not alone.