Perform for Choice took place in transport hubs around Dublin in September 2012. Journeying by bus and train to BusÁras, Connolly Station, Dublin Airport and Dun Laoghaire Harbour the guerrilla performers highlighted the burden of travel imposed on 150,000 individuals from the island of Ireland* since 1980 seeking abortion services due to lack of support for their reproductive rights by successive Irish governments.
Perform for Choice was launched at Screen for Choice; a special event coinciding with Decriminalisation of Abortion Global Action Day 2012 in Filmbase, Dublin (http://filmbase.ie/news/index.php/2012/09/28/screen-for-choice/)
*This statistic was published by the IFPA on 29th May 2012 in a press release entitled “New UK Abortion Statistics”. See http://www.ifpa.ie/node/501
Background to the performance:
Travel abroad for abortion is an experience that is often undertaken quickly, quietly and secretly due to the stigma that surrounds abortion treatments in Irish society. Because of this, women affected in Ireland often find themselves silenced, ignored, neglected, alone and anxious on their journey, no matter how confident they might be that this choice is right for them in their current circumstances. In the past, before information was made available in Ireland. In her book ‘Ireland’s Hidden Diaspora; The Abortion Trail and the Making of a London-Irish Underground, 1980-2000’ Ann Rossiter describes the voluntary work of ‘clinic escorts’ in Great Britain, many associated with the IWASG, who would deliberately wear a red garment at an arranged meeting point so that they could be easily recognized and thus accompany an Irish passenger, safely and in confidence, to their appointed destination in an unfamiliar city. This gesture of solidarity, understanding and support is echoed in the costume and choreography of the performance each and every place it travels to.