This week in London, an outstanding exhibition opened up. One that details the stories of Irish and Northern Irish women who had to travel to England for abortions. The exhibition is called Not At Home.
Abortion is absolutely illegal in Ireland. There are few cases where it is allowed, but those are very, very few. Northern Ireland is a little more lenient. They passed the Abortion Act in 1967. This act allows women to travel to the UK for an abortion. Since 1967, it has been said that at least ten women travel from Ireland to England a day for the surgery.
Over the past two years, Grace Dyas and Emma Fraser, two pro-choice activist and artist have been interviewing women who have made this daring journey for an abortion. Their stories go as far back as 1983 to modern times. Every story will be heard on December 16th and 17th at the Platform theater in Southwark. Their ultimate going is to raise enough money so that they can take their show on a tour around Ireland right as the referendum on legalizing abortion next year.
Furthermore, the women want to raise awareness around Ireland of the secret journeys these women have to take. The show has already been around Dublin, but they want to take it to the more conservative areas and get an understanding for these individuals. These women are invisible most of the time,” Dyas has stated. “They’re just referred to as statistics but there’s ten a day travelling to the UK and you don’t hear anything about who they are and what their experiences are. We’re trying to highlight and make visible their reality.”
For these two girls, it isn’t about right or wrong, but more about understanding what this abortion law is doing to these women. One touching story tells of a woman who was drinking tea while waiting for her operation. Due to the tea they asked her to reschedule as she wasn’t to drink before the operation as it would affect the anesthetic.. The It isn’t so easy to just reschedule when you have flown from a different country. That said, she got the operation without any anesthetic.