‘She had a big jug and a funnel’ Ann Ingle tells her story of ‘backstreet abortion’

The Women’s Podcast: Extracts from Repeal -A Night in the Key of 8 a fundraiser for the ‘repeal project’ include poetry by Una Mullally and FeliSpeaks

Nearly 2,000 people packed The Olympia Theatre on Sunday April 23rd for a fundraising concert for the Repeal Project

Nearly 2,000 people packed The Olympia Theatre on Sunday April 23rd for a fundraising concert for the Repeal Project

 

Nearly 2,000 people packed The Olympia Theatre on Sunday April 23rd for a fundraising concert for the Repeal Project. Repeal: A Night in the Key of 8, produced by Aoife Woodlock, included a conversation between Irish Times journalist Róisín Ingle and her mother Ann Ingle, about a “backstreet abortion” Ann had in 1960, when abortion was illegal in the UK. The powerful exchange features on the latest episode of The Women’s Podcast.

At the concert which included music from Mary Black, Camille O’Sullivan, Roisin O, Neil Hannon, David Gray and more, Ann Ingle recalled becoming pregnant or getting “herself into trouble - that’s what we called it then” aged 21 with a “charming, blue-eyed” Irish man called Peter.

“He had brought over a contraceptive method from Ireland called ‘coitus-interruptus’ but unfortunately there was more coitus than interruptus going on and the inevitable happened”.

Her family said news of a pregnancy would kill her father so they took her to a house in the East End London. There she was told by a woman to lie down on the sofa and take off her underwear.

Listen to The Women's Podcast

‘A terrible experience’

“I saw she had a big jug of some kind of soapy stuff and a funnel, and as I lay there this was pumped into my vagina and I was cold and I was frightened and I was shaking. I can still feel it now. It was a terrible experience”.

The woman said that in two days it would all be over but Ann remained pregnant and a hasty marriage to Peter was arranged. Three weeks after the wedding she miscarried. The couple went on to have eight children. Ann said she was sharing her story even though it wasn’t always easy for mothers and daughters to talk about “private, secret” issues. She said the time for“shame and secrecy” was over and suggested a referendum on the issue would be won by being “loving, gentle and kind”.

Also in the podcast, Una Mullally reads her poem The Us-es which encapsulates the diverse nature of those involved in the Repeal movement. It was inspired by words in gay rights campaigner Harvey Milk’s speech ‘You’ve Got to Have Hope.’

And spoken word artist FeliSpeaks reads her spoken word piece How About Us?, a rallying call to campaigners to be inclusive and not to exclude the most vulnerable in society such as those in direct provision from their campaigning activities.

Launched by Anna Cosgrave, the Repeal Project is the enterprise behind the distinctive black and white Repeal jumpers which have become so synonymous with the campaign. For more see repealproject.ie

To download individual episodes of the podcast go to iTunes or Soundcloud. You can also access the podcast at irishtimes.com/podcasts

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