After Repeal

Rethinking Abortion Politics

Edited by Kath Browne and Sydney Calkin


Explores the implications of the Irish abortion referendum for abortion politics around the world.

The referendum to overturn Ireland’s near-total abortion ban in 2018 stands as one of the most remarkable political events of recent times. The campaign to repeal the 8th amendment succeeded not only in challenging centuries of religious and patriarchal dogma, but in signalling a major transformation in Irish society itself.

After Repeal explores both the campaign and the implications of the referendum result for politics, identity and culture today. Bringing together a range of international perspectives, this collection transcends geographical and disciplinary boundaries while exploring themes including activism, artwork, social movements, law, media, democratic institutions, and reproductive technologies. This work looks beyond the Irish context and to the future, offering unique insight into the wider struggle for reproductive justice around the world.

Author Bio

Kath Browne is a Professor of Geographies of Sexualities and Genders at University College Dublin. She has worked on Heteroactivism, LGBT equalities, lesbian geographies, gender transgressions and women's spaces. Her other publications include Ordinary in Brighton: LGBT, Activisms and the City (with Leela Bakshi, 2013), Queer Spiritual Spaces (2010), and the co-edited collections Lesbian Feminism (2019), Geographies of Sex and Sexualities (2016) and Lesbian Geographies (2015).

Sydney Calkin is a Lecturer in Geography and a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Queen Mary University of London. Her current research investigates the changing geographies of abortion access and the impact of transnational feminist social movements for reproductive justice. She is also the author of Human Capital in Gender and Development (2018).

Table of Contents

Introduction, Sydney Calkin and Kath Browne
Part I: The Politics of Repeal
1. The 2018 abortion referendum: over before it began! Theresa Reidy
2. Explaining repeal: a long-term view, Linda Connolly
3. “The only lawyer on the panel”: anti-choice lawfare in the battle for abortion law reform, Fiona de Londras and Máiréad Enright
4. Abortion pills in Ireland and beyond: what can the 8th Amendment referendum tell us about the future of self-managed abortion? Sydney Calkin
5. Of trust and mistrust: the politics of repeal, Elżbieta Drążkiewicz-Grodzicka and Máire Ní Mhórdha
Part II: Campaigns and Campaigning
6. “Enough judgement”: reflections on campaigning for repeal in rural Ireland, Mary McGill
7. Campaigning for choice: canvassing as feminist pedagogy in Dublin Bay North, Niamh McDonald, Kate Antosik-Parsons, Karen E. Till, Jack Callan and Gerry Kearns
8. #Tá: pro-choice activism in the Irish language community, Lisa Nic an Bhreithimh
9. Maser’s ‘Repeal the 8th’ mural: the power of public art in the age of social media, Lorna O’Hara
10. Repealing a ‘legacy of shame’: press coverage of emotional geographies of secrecy and shame in Ireland’s abortion debate, Eric Olund
Part III: Futures: Ireland and Beyond
11. Placing the Catholic Church: the moral landscape of repealing the 8th, Richard Scriven
12. Losing Ireland: heteroactivist responses to the 8th Amendment in Canada and the UK, Kath Browne and Catherine Jean Nash
13. The primacy of place: in vitro ‘unborn’ and the 8th Amendment, Noëlle Cotter
14. Northern Ireland after repealing the 8th: democratic challenges, Lisa Smyth
15. Reflections after the Irish referendum: abortion, the Catholic Church and pro-choice mobilization in Poland, Dorota Szelewa


'After Repeal provides a front-line view of the diverse and committed movement that rose to meet the challenge to bring about a crucial phase of reproductive justice: we see how the feminist lawyers argued, how the visual artists inspired, and how the suburban and the rural activists engaged with their different contexts. This book is that rare combination of being scholarly yet welcoming of the person who wants to hear true stories, well-told.’
Katherine O’Donnell, University College Dublin 

'In an impressive collection of cross-disciplinary essays, After Repeal tackles the fraught history of abortion in Ireland and offers valuable, engrossing and often challenging analyses of the battle for the right to choose leading to the landslide victory for repeal of the 8th Amendment in 2018.’
Ailbhe Smyth, Together for Yes

'After Repeal is an enlightening, interdisciplinary engagement with the context and outcome of the abortion referendum. Its chapters offer well-researched insights that will be of interest to a global audience of academics and activists.'
Pam Lowe, Aston University

‘An extremely valuable resource for new students and established scholars of abortion politics alike. With a compelling combination of activist and academic voices, it drives home the significance of the Repeal campaign for Ireland and for the world.’
Francis Amery, University of Bath

'After Repeal is bound to become a necessary read for anyone, scholarly or otherwise, wishing to understand the broad historical, political and social contexts for abortion in the Island of Ireland.'
Emma Campbell, Alliance for Choice


Publication Date: 15 January 2020
300 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781786997180
Hardback: 9781786997173
eBook ePub: 9781786997197
eBook PDF: 9781786997203
eBook Kindle: 9781786997210

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