IRELAND – How the Yes was Won: A podcast in ten episodes from the 1970s to the present day

Written and edited by Deidre Kelly and Aising Dolan

These ten podcasts, launched in early May and published one at a time through to 25 June 2021. They chronicle pro-choice activism in Ireland from the 1970s to the present day. The producers spoke to activists who have been fighting for free, safe, legal and local abortion access in Ireland for the last 40 years, and have collected an oral history of what that fight was like at every step of the way – from providing phone numbers for clinics in the UK to women taking to the streets in protest.

The first podcast is about what was happening in Irish feminism in the late 70s and early 80s, and the backlash from it. The efforts that led to the opening of the Dublin Well Woman Centre are described.

The second podcast is entitled “Vote No”. The authors spoke with the activists and organisers who mobilised as part of the Anti-Amendment Campaign. This campaign fought to try to prevent the introduction of the 8th Amendment to the Irish Constitution, which gave equal rights to the pregnant woman and the fetus. Their bravery and perseverance in opposing this amendment, which was passed, the authors say, was astounding.

The third podcast discusses how the Society for Protection of Unborn Children used the 8th Amendment to bring legal action against anyone who was giving information out about how to access abortion in Britain and other countries. Activists at the time set up an anonymous phone line to help those seeking abortion to get the information they so desperately needed.

The fourth podcast covers The X Case, the first real challenge to the 8th Amendment, which led to widespread public demonstrations, and culminated in three additional referendums to increase access to abortion and information on abortion services overseas, and the anti-abortion response.

The fifth podcast cover how a new generation of activists who had grown up under the 8th Amendment were spurred into action in 2012 by a national campaign of anti-choice posters, and the A,B and C cases, three women who took the country to the European Court of Human Rights to demand justice for how they had been treated under the 8th Amendment.

The sixth podcast reports the death of Savita Halappanavar in a Galway hospital after being refused an emergency abortion due to sepsis from a miscarriage at 17 weeks, in October 2012, one month after the first March for Choice. Her death forever changed the conversation around abortion access in Ireland with the slogan “Never again”.

The seventh podcast covers the rising campaign for a referendum to Repeal the 8th Amendment, and some of the changes that took place in Irish society that helped pave the way. More and more pro-choice groups were forming around the country, and momentum was building.

The eighth podcast covers the formation of Together For Yes, the national campaign to organise for a Yes vote in the referendum to Repeal the 8th Amendment and bring in legislation allowing abortion in Ireland. It also covers how the Irish media did not understand or support the campaign at this time.

The ninth podcast covers the day of the referendum results, which repealed the 8th Amendment and led to an abortion law allowing abortion on request in the first trimester, and about its limitations.

The tenth podcast is a collection of stories the authors heard during their interviews that they loved, but didn’t fit in any other episode. They hope you like them as much as they did!

SOURCE: How the Yes Was Won. On the webpage of each episode of the podcast, you can find a list of resources with much more detail about what was happening in those years.