How the Abortion Pill Is Tipping the Scales of Abortion Rights

February 16, 2022

Graduate Center Ph.D. candidate Brenna McCaffrey joins The Thought Project to discuss how the issue of access to abortion pills helped overturn Ireland’s abortion ban and what the issue portends for abortion bans in the U.S.

How did activists in Ireland convince an overwhelming majority of the country to vote in 2018 to reverse the country’s abortion ban that had been more or less in place for over a century? According to Graduate Center Ph.D. candidate Brenna McCaffrey (Anthropology), the change in public opinion was influenced by a relentless campaign led by women who put the issue of access to safe, medically approved abortion pills at the center of their advocacy. McCaffrey followed the campaign and is writing about it in her dissertation, All Aboard the Abortion Pill Train: Activism, Medicine, and Reproductive Technologies in the Republic of Ireland.


Her research also influenced her decision to become an abortion rights activist via TikTok after the passage of the Texas abortion ban in September 2021. McCaffrey’s efforts garnered media coverage of how women in Texas were seeking alternatives to the limited options available to them and the growing recognition that the Supreme Court appears poised to overturn Roe v. Wade this term.

McCaffrery joins The Thought Project podcast to discuss her research, her activism, and the future of abortion rights in the U.S.

Brenna McCaffrey has authored a blog published by the Thought Project on Medium: The future of abortion pill activism and what US activists can learn from Irish feminism. ​

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