This chapter considers the protests and activism led by the Alliance for Choice movement, an organisation that campaigns for the extension of the 1967 Abortion to Northern Ireland. The role of women in the movement is considered with particular focus on its most recent period of activism which began in the months preceding a proposed debate in Westminster in 2008 where a tabled amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill by Diane Abbot MP sought an extension of the 1967 Abortion Act to NI. In response to this a series of events and activities were held to raise awareness amongst MP’s, trade unions and the wider public. The Alliance for Choice campaign took a strong pro-choice approach, focusing on the issue of equality with women in the rest of the UK. The campaign included lobbying MP’s and political parties, public protests, petitions and seminar sessions. Despite the withdrawal of the amendment to the Bill in late 2008 the movement has continued on with its campaign, including preparation of a submission to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). As the awareness raising nature of the movement grew, it focused on range of methodologies including lobbying at party political conferences, a pilot training programme for the women’s sector and film nights showing documentary films depicting how abortion is dealt with in South Africa, Poland and America. Motions have been tabled at trade union conferences, book launches supported and participation in May Day parades have occurred. The movement also sought support from sister organisations in the South and in the rest of the UK, sharing information, ideas and providing mutual support. This chapter reviews the actions of the Alliance for Choice movement, during the period 2008-2010, considering the motivations for participation in the movement and reflections on its impact.
|Title of host publication||Performing Feminisms in Contemporary Ireland|
|Place of Publication||Dublin, Ireland|
|Publication status||Published - 18 Mar 2013|
Bloomer, F. (2013). Protests, Parades and Marches: activism and extending abortion legislation to Northern Ireland. In L. Fitzpatrick (Ed.), Performing Feminisms in Contemporary Ireland (pp. 1-276). Dublin, Ireland: Carysfort Press.