Abortion and the referendum in Ireland
Catherine Forde, Activist, barrister and former board member of the IFPA
I first got involved during the 1982 campaign to insert the 8th Amendment (that the fetus has a right to life equal right to life of the mother into the Irish Constitution). No matter what one's opinion was on abortion, putting such a clause into our constitution showed complete and utter disrespect for women.
It was clear to me this clause would give rise to legal difficulties and put women's lives in danger. I just thought this is unfair. This is wrong. It was a very bitter horrible campaign. We were threatened and intimidated when we canvassed on the streets. We were regularly called murderers. It was a time in Ireland when the Catholic church reigned supreme, and they reckoned they could say what they like and do what they liked.
I, and a friend, formed a women's health group where we tried to do something about improving women's access to contraception because at that time even access to contraception was extremely limited. Then in 1984 I was asked to join the board of the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA).