Destigmatising Abortion One Face At A Time - The X-Ile Project
Ireland is failing women in terms of reproductive rights. Our archaic and highly restrictive abortion laws saw 3,600 women forced to travel to the UK for terminations in 2014, and that's only the women who had the financial resources to do so.
Coming up to the General Election, repealing the 8th Amendment has been a huge election issue for many in the country, with Abortion Rights Campaign urging the electorate to question their candidates about their position on the 8th Amendment.
There has been a vocal increase in those who have had abortions telling their stories, and the X-Ile project is a powerful example of the movement to repeal the 8th gathering momentum. It was founded by Julie Morrisy, Paula Cullen, Ruth Morrisy and Laura Lovejoy.
It's an ongoing gallery of women and trans-men who have been forced to access abortion services out of Ireland, and it's incredibly powerful.
The founders. (L-R: Ruth Morrisy, Laura Lovejoy, Paula Cullen, Julie Morrisy)
I spoke to Julie Morrisy, one of the founders of the project about what inspired the group: " Initially, we were greatly inspired by the women who have told their abortion stories in the media. We saw those women as opening up a space for other women to share their abortion experiences.
"We felt that we could similarly contribute in a positive way by showing that women who have abortions are ordinary, responsible members of our communities. They are our daughters, friends, partners, mothers, colleagues and neighbours."
They have released a second group of photographs today, three days before the election, aiming to encourage people to vote for a government that will confront the reality of Irish abortion, and create meaningful steps to make it accessible in this country.
When I asked about the reluctance of many politicians to discuss abortion rights, her answer was definitive:
"The refusal of politicians to discuss abortion rights is quite simply, and ostentatiously, undemocratic where the polls show there is large support for a referendum on the 8th Amendment. The conversation around abortion should be controlled by women, not by politicians. It is damaging to women to ignore their experiences and deem them as invalid."
They are continuing the project, and you can view the beautiful portraits here. "Each woman's personal contribution makes a significant difference to breaking the abortion stigma and inspiring other women to join."