A cross-border conference will bring pro-choice campaigners together to share ideas and goals this weekend.
Members of the Inishowen branch of the Abortion Rights Campaign have worked with members of Alliance for Choice in Derry to help deliver a series of workshops and seminars in the North West on the theme ‘Still Fighting for Choice’.
An art exhibition and conference takes place this week in Derry to mark 20 years of the Alliance for Choice organisation and 50 years of the 1967 Abortion Act in the UK, which does not extend to Northern Ireland.
Inishowen ARC spokesperson Cathleen Shiels said the upcoming abortion referendum in Ireland has given the Donegal group an added vigour to their campaign:
Cathleen said: “Knowing that we are facing into a Referendum year has lit a fire under us. We know there is a lot of work to do – not only the work of winning a referendum – but the work that must be done to tackle the stigma and silence that surrounds abortion in Ireland.
“We have decades of silence to shake off. I sincerely hope the activities organised this weekend will help to make space, so that the voices of those who have been afraid to speak out about their experiences can be heard.
“63 women from Donegal made the lonely journey to England last year, every one of them with their own unique and complex reasons.”
“The results of the Red C poll released by Amnesty earlier this month showed clearly that people in Ireland want healthcare to be provided in a private and dignified manner.
“I have been delighted to see that members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee have taken this on board, and have already voted not to keep the 8th Amendment in their deliberations.”
An Art Exhibition featuring the work of local artists from Donegal and Derry is taking place in The Playhouse Derry from 28th Nov – 2nd Dec.
The week will culminate with the Still Fighting for Choice Conference on Saturday December 2nd at 11am – 6pm in The Playhouse. Speakers will include Kinga Jelinska from womenhelp.org; Rachel Cohen a US Abortion Rights Activist, Goretti Horgan from Alliance For Choice Derry and Jessica Elder, VP Welfare Officer at Queen’s University Students Union.
Cathleen added: “20 years ago an inspirational group of people got together in Derry to set up Alliance for Choice.
“This weekend, we have the opportunity to learn from their wealth of experience and look at the ways we can support each other, across to achieve our mutual goals over the coming year – what’s good for women on one side of the border, is good for women on the other side.”