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New Collections Published by Archiving Reproductive Health for 5th Anniversary of the Repeal Referendum

26 May 2023

On the fifth anniversary of the referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Irish constitution, the Archiving Reproductive Health project is delighted to announce the publication of three new collections, and additions to existing collections. 

Archiving Reproductive Health (ARH) is a Wellcome Trust-funded project working to preserve digital material created by organisations active in reproductive health and activism in Ireland, particularly around the campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment in 2018. ARH has archived and made available collections from activist organisations such as Together for Yes, the national campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment; from researchers such as Re(al)productive Justice: Gender and Disabilities; and from In Her Shoes: Stories of the Eighth, a Facebook page where people shared their experiences under the Eighth Amendment. A full list of our collections can be found on our project page

New Collections

ARH Collection Day: Nurse Mary Ann Fanning

On 10 March 2023, Archiving Reproductive Health held a Public Collection Day. At this event, members of the public were invited to digitise a cross-section of personal memorabilia relating to the history of the Eighth Amendment, and of the history of reproductive health in Ireland more generally. The Nurse Mary Ann Fanning collection contains professional and personal effects of a midwife active in Fingal, County Dublin, in the early years of the 20th century. Nurse Mary Ann Fanning (1880 - 1964) worked in the Garristown area and beyond between the 1890s and the 1940s. The collection includes her midwife's bag and its contents, including catheters, pumps, medication and medical records books. Also included are qualification certificates in midwifery, photographs of Nurse Fanning, and other personal effects. The ARH project thanks the family of Mary Ann Fanning for donating this material for digitisation and long-term preservation.

Collection DOI:


Image: ARH Collection Day: Nurse Mary Ann Fanning. Framed photograph of Mary Ann Fanning
in nurse's uniform,aged 30.1910. CC BY SA. DOI:

How the Yes Was Won Podcast

‘How the Yes was Won’ is a podcast series, written and edited by Deirdre Kelly and Aisling Dolan about the history of reproductive rights in Ireland with interviews with those who fought for them, from the 1970s to the present day. This collection contains the first seven episodes of the podcast, including audio files and transcripts. The remaining episodes are scheduled to be published on DRI in the coming weeks.

Collection DOI:

Lawyers for Choice collection

Lawyers for Choice (Ireland) was a group of lawyers and legal scholars who supported the repeal of the Eighth Amendment, and produced policy documents and information booklets about the legal implications of the Eighth for a general audience. This collection includes media releases, information booklets, draft legislation and other publications created by the group as part of its work.

Collection DOI:

Additions to Existing Collections

In Her Shoes: Stories of the Eighth Amendment - New Stories

This collection contains personal accounts from people in Ireland who sought abortion prior to the repeal of the Eighth Amendment. The stories are from the In Her Shoes Facebook page which was set up in January 2018 prior to the referendum in May 2018. The Facebook page was instrumental in changing voters’ minds about abortion in the run up to the referendum. The stories capture the reality for many women living under the Eighth Amendment and offer an insight into the difficulties surrounding the illegality of abortion.

The In Her Shoes collection was first published in 2022 with 46 publicly accessible stories. Today ARH have published almost 400 additional stories on DRI for long-term preservation. These personal stories are restricted access for teaching and research only. 

See our statement on archiving the In Her Shoes page here and our Ethical Protocol for the project here.

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Together for Yes Regional Groups

During the course of the Together for Yes campaign, a number of regional groups were created or extended, to coordinate canvassing and publicity events in various regions around Ireland. Many of these groups had already existed in other forms, for example there were a number of Abortion Rights Campaign regional groups already present prior to 2018, and other pro-choice groups started by political parties, trade unions, civil society organisations and spontaneous groups of volunteers. After the referendum, many of these groups reverted to their pre-Together for Yes incarnations. The regional groups represented all the counties of the republic of Ireland, and many larger counties and cities had multiple groups representing different areas. This new collection contains logo images for the Together for Yes regional groups, and quotation infographics from groups in Tipperary, Donegal, Roscommon and Mayo. More images, infographics and videos will be added to this collection in the coming weeks.

Collection DOI:

Article opening Image: ARH Collection Day: Nurse Mary Ann Fanning. Medical instrument from the midwife's bag used by Mary Ann Fanning early in her career: Pinard horn, a listening device used for detecting foetal heartbeat before the advent of ultrasound technology. CC BY-SA. DOI:

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