Speaking of I.M.E.L.D.A seeks to challenge the ongoing problem of Ireland Making England the Legal Destination for Abortion. We operate against the shaming and silencing of women living in the north and south of Ireland who have had abortions in England. The name Imelda was used as a code-name by the approximately 6,000 women who travelled to England for abortions between 1986 and 1995. The code-name was necessary since the Information Cases in the Republic of Ireland in 1986 made it a criminal offence to travel abroad for an abortion and to provide information and referrals for abortion services.
Since 1995, an average of 12 women a day have continued to travel from Ireland, north and south, to England for abortions. Apart from the considerable expense and stress of having to travel abroad for a medical procedure, these women are often denied follow-up after-care. In addition, in 2013, the Republic of Ireland implemented a 14-year prison sentence for women who have abortions in Ireland illegally. This has dire consequences for women who take pro-abortive medication because they cannot afford to travel or are not permitted to leave the country.
We want women in the north and south of Ireland, and women across the world, to have control over their own bodies and access to safe and legal medical services to support their choices. In speaking the name I.M.E.L.D.A. we wish to act in solidarity with those who seek to counteract the inhumanity of state legislation, which denies women bodily autonomy and integrity, as horrifically illustrated by the recent case of Miss Y/Migrant X.
To date, our actions have included:
- Executing performance-based, direct actions and promoting these on Facebook, Twitter and traditional media in Ireland and globally, including:
- Performing at the demo of the treatment of migrant X, the Irish Embassy, London on 20 Aug 2014.
- Interrupting a conference for Irish Catholics in London;
- Protesting during the recent state visit of Irish President, Michael D. Higgins to Britain (April 2014);
- Challenging the English Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, regarding a recent English High Court ruling denying women in Northern Ireland access to free abortions under the NHS.
- Collaborating with pro-choice groups in Ireland and globally. For example: