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Archiving Reproductive Health: New Collections

Cover of Regional Groups Toolkit booklet, published by Abortion Rights Campaign in 2017
Image: Cover of Regional Groups Toolkit booklet, published by Abortion Rights Campaign in 2017
 

The Archiving Reproductive Health project at the Digital Repository of Ireland publishes a new set of collections on the 4th anniversary of the referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment, 25 May 2022.

'Digital Preservation of Reproductive Health Resources: Archiving the 8th' (Archiving Reproductive Health) is a project funded by the Wellcome Trust and carried out by the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) to preserve and publish digital materials relating to campaigns for reproductive justice in Ireland, especially during the campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment in 2018. Working with key stakeholders including the Abortion Rights Campaign, Together for Yes, Terminations for Medical Reasons, Coalition to Repeal the Eighth, and many others, Archiving Reprodutive Health (ARH) has gathered and preserved a selection of digital objects and research data that tells part of the story of this historic campaign.

Pilot collections from ARH stakeholder organisations were published on International Women’s Day, 8 March 2022, and can be viewed on the collections page on DRI.

The second tranche of material focuses on publications and administrative documents created by stakeholder organisations, including reports, policy papers, and general meeting agendas and minutes from the Abortion Rights Campaign, and policy publications from Together for Yes and Terminations for Medical Reasons. The evolution of the Campaign to Repeal the Eighth Amendment can be traced through submissions to international bodies such as the Commission for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), to public consultations held by the Irish government, and through collections of testimony from ordinary people affected by the Eighth Amendment. 

The voices of activists from the past are heard in a series of oral history interview transcripts, taken from interviews with reproductive rights activists in Ireland in the 1980s and 1990s, crucial years for the development of the Irish pro-choice movement. These interviews were conducted by scholars and activists Linda Connolly and Mary Muldowney, and their inclusion in the Archiving Reproductive Health project adds to present and future researchers’ understanding of this period. More recent activists’ voices come from qualitative data compiled by academic Camilla Fitzsimons, from questionnaires conducted in 2015, 2020 and 2021, which provide insights into activists’ thinking on campaigning pre and post the 2018 referendum.

The collections will be available from 25 May 2022 on the DRI, along with material previously published as part of the pilot collections. These will be augmented with additional material over the coming weeks and months.

Examples of interesting items from these collections will be showcased on DRI social media from Wednesday 25 May to Wednesday 1 June – see DRI Twitter and Instagram for updates.