The majority of single women in Ireland who discover they are pregnant do not feel they can share the fact with family or friends.
'The Women's Programme' examines the stories of Ireland's unwanted pregnancies and the options available to women. While the women's stories are complex, presented here are the statistics.
Every year in Ireland thousands of single women become pregnant.
In 1984, 5,030 babies were born to single mothers in Ireland. Many of these women can’t face the reality of their pregnancies and make no preparation for the birth. Their first point of contact with the medical world is when they arrive at the hospital in labour. In 1984, 99 women in Dublin alone received no ante-natal care.
Many single women who become pregnant become isolated and feel they cannot share this news with family and friends. In 1984, 542 women left their jobs, families and friends to spend their pregnancies in Mother and Baby Homes, Community Homes or with other families.
Many of these women are faced with the dilemma of placing their babies up for adoption. In 1984, 956 single women in Ireland placed their newborn babies for adoption.
Another option for many Irish women, both single and married, is to make the journey to England for an abortion. In 1984, 2998 Irish women were registered as having had abortions in England. The number is probably much higher as many other Irish women do not provide an Irish address.
Whatever the option made by these women, there are varying degrees of societal approval with each.
'The Women’s Programme' broadcast on 18 October 1985. The presenters are Mary Holland and Doireann Ní Bhriain.
The Women's Programme was jointly presented by Marian Finucane and Doireann Ní Bhriain and was a weekly magazine programme run and presented entirely by women for women. Broadcast every Monday at 9.30pm on RTE 1, the first programme was aired on 24 October, 1983.
The team behind the programme included Nuala O'Faolain who had previously worked on the "Women Talking" series. Also involved in producing the show was Claire Duignan who was responsible for the Today Tonight programmes on rape, divorce and child abuse. Duignan was also the original producer of Women Today on RTÉ Radio 1.