Trusting Women, 2000–2018
To date, in practical terms a woman in Dublin and Belfast will have had a very similar experience when seeking an abortion: she will more than likely have had to travel out of her state. However, since the 1980s there has been one crucial difference between the two states, which feeds directly into the fact that it is the Republic of Ireland that will change its abortion laws first. Since 1983 the Republic of Ireland has been constantly ‘talking abortion’; it has experienced six abortion-related referendums each involving debate and protest. By comparison, in Northern Ireland there has been little pretext for debating the jurisdiction’s abortion laws. This chapter explores how the momentum for reform in the Republic culminated in the overwhelming mandate to repeal of the eighth amendment in May 2018. It also reveals how this situation has increased the focus on Northern Ireland, which is now virtually alone in Western Europe in clinging to its restrictive abortion regime.