Since 1983, over 170,000 women and girls crossed the Irish Sea to avail of abortion services abroad. In 2018, there was a referendum to repeal the law that made abortion illegal in Ireland known as the 8th Amendment and on the 25th May the 8th Amendment was repealed. Although abortion is now accessible in Ireland, for many women the scars of years of carrying shame and guilt are going to take time to heal.

During the lead up to the referendum, I was aware of the strong visual campaign used by those who opposed legalising abortion. Pro-Life posters usually displayed images of a fetus alongside biased misinformation in the form of text. Often the image of the fetus in the poster would be 40 times the size of an actual fetus in the womb. A more problematic feature, or lack of, is the exclusion of women in the posters. I met with five different women who wanted to share their personal accounts of travelling to the UK to avail of abortion services, as thousands of other women in Ireland have had to do, and the impact it has had on their lives. With their permission, I made portraits of each one and they wrote brief personal statements onto paper. All but one of the subjects were happy for their face to be shown. 

There is also a small series of additional images that accompany the portraits, which are based on common threads that run through their stories such as religious culture, shame, time and stigmatization. 

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