'I believe in a loving God and that I won't be damned for what I did'
17 Apr 2012
THE PHOTOGRAPH OF the four calm, young women on this page tells us little of what had gone before. They were tired and under stress. Three had been in tears. One had taken a 5am train from the south into the offices of The Irish Times. Another had had to rush in from work.
Only hours before, each was still deciding whether to appear in this picture. Such is the silence and stigma surrounding their stories, the mere fact of revealing their real names and faces would most likely give them a place of sorts in Irish social history. The decision was not taken lightly. "But we're just being hypocrites if we don't," decided Ruth Bowie, "What are we ashamed of?"
In the end, they did it because they want people to see how ordinary they are, unthreatening wives, mothers, daughters, siblings, who had never dreamt of being activists or campaigners. Their sole bond was the fact that each had had a pregnancy in which the baby was diagnosed with "an abnormality incompatible with life", and that each had "travelled" to have that pregnancy terminated.