Emma Campbell – When they put their hands out like scales

National ideals of motherhood and acceptable female behaviour are threaded through the anti-choice arguments. To try and represent the ‘abortion journey’ experience, in effect it becomes the “fulcrum of a much broader ideological struggle in which the very meanings of family, the state, motherhood, and …women’s sexuality are contested”. Petchesky, Rosalind Abortion and Women’s Choice: The State, Sexuality and Reproductive Freedom London: Verso1986 pp. 69

The Film begins in the grounds surrounding Stormont, the seat of government in Northern Ireland, we hide in the cold and unwelcoming outside world, and the lack of humanity of most political representatives is paralleled with the dreary loneliness of the surrounding environment. Eventually, as we move towards the docks, the sea becomes the abortion seeker’s only escape.

In the book,the polemic narrative surrounding abortion is bewildering. Ambiguity and conflict are played out in the passing landscapes and impersonal details, echoed by the political bluster and suffocating reality of the legal constrictions. Layers of glass and reflection acknowledge the obfuscatory and morally indignant language used by political representatives.­

The enforced exile across the sea to the colonial bosom, shrouded in secrecy and shame, has become the abortion seeker’s only escape.
All text and audio is lifted verbatim from Hansard notes of a Northern Ireland Assembly debate on abortion access in June 2000.


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