2015 was an incredible year for the Abortion Rights Campaign. We saw our membership grow significantly, our partnership with international groups strengthen, and our activities in regional Ireland increase.
From high profile advocacy at the UN to speaking to the Irish public about the need to repeal the 8th at stalls and festivals; from social media campaigns to making information about Ireland’s laws available in multiple languages online; from empowering the public to contact their political representatives about the issue to organizing a March for Choice that doubled in size from that held in 2014, 2015 was an exceptionally busy year for us.
Our important work has been especially focussed on educating the general public about the issue and striving to reduce stigma surrounding abortion in order to move towards an Ireland where abortion is decriminalised and regulated like any other medical procedure. Through hosting values clarification trainings and women’s community education programmes in addition to speakouts where women can share their experiences of abortion freely, we have worked very hard this year towards building a society where people can speak openly about abortion.
This blanket of stigma is slowly lifting but it still needs to be challenged as it is a major obstacle to change in the Irish perception of abortion. When stigma is examined and dismantled it will be easier for our society to move towards full reproductive rights. In 2015, there was increased awareness of ARC in the media and we were regularly asked to give statements to the press. We are now in the position to have better control of the narrative around abortion rights in Ireland and we have used this platform to draw attention to misinformation which makes it difficult for the public to distinguish fact from fiction.