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Mairead McVeigh

This body of work is a direct response to laws which have only recently been passed in both Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Contraception was illegal in Ireland from 1935 until 1980, when it was legalised with strong restrictions, later loosened in 1985. The ban reflected Catholic teachings on sexual morality.

It was illegal until 1993 to be homosexual. Same-sex, or equal marriage, was not legalised until 2018, 25 years later.

The last Magdalene laundry closed in 1996. In 2014, a mass septic tank of 786 dead children, most of which were infants, was found buried in the grounds of the Catholic St Mary’s mother-and-baby home.

Unlawfully attempting to procure a miscarriage was a crime punishable by up to life imprisonment. In 2016, drones flew and dropped abortion pills to Northern Ireland from the south. This was a response to a case where in April, a 21-year-old woman was handed a suspended sentence by a judge in Belfast after she bought drugs on the internet to induce a miscarriage because she could not afford to fly to England for an abortion. Abortions were decriminalised in 2018 but have yet to take effect due to being blocked by several political parties.

Finally, the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act of 2013 and the Repeal the 8th Movement came as result of the death of a newly-wed Indian woman. She was refused an abortion following an incomplete miscarriage as it was seen to be prohibited by law in Ireland. She died of septic miscarriage.