Dance to Destiny’s Child and support abortion access with Skirt

PUBLISHED: 16:22 25 September 2017 | UPDATED: 16:56 25 September 2017

Skirt in support of Abortion Support Network. Picture: Laura Lewis

Skirt in support of Abortion Support Network. Picture: Laura Lewis


The club night at The Yard in Hackney Wick raises money and awareness for Abortion Support Network, who assist people from Ireland and Northern Ireland in traveling to access a safe and legal abortion

Liberté, Egalité, Beyoncé – now there’s a motto to get behind.

This is the tagline for a club night coming to Hackney Wick’s The Yard theatre. “Skirt” is a chance to dance to Destiny’s Child, Aretha Franklin, Cher, Prince, Marvin Gaye, TLC and many more of that ilk. But that’s not the main drive behind going.

Laura Hurley and Laura Lewis run the night to support access to abortions for women in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

“We’re both pro-choice feminists and I work in sexual and reproductive health so knew about Abortion Support Network and the excellent work they do,” says Hurley. “We thought it would be great to have a party that gave us a chance to raise money for ASN as they are pretty small, and mostly run on individual donations and volunteer support.”

As of the end of June, women from Northern Ireland are able to access free NHS abortions if they travel to England, Wales or Scotland, having previously had to pay around £1,000 for the termination.

“It’s a disgrace that women in Northern and mainland Ireland don’t have free, safe legal access to abortion,” she says. “ASN helps to fund them to come over to England for care, and even has a network of volunteers who offer a place to stay for the night, and who man the phone lines to offer support and advice. There’s been a fair amount in the news about abortion access for Northern Irish women recently, and it’s great they will no longer have to pay for the procedure itself, but this doesn’t get round the issue of having to book last minute flights, accommodation, and so on.”

Despite this step forward, Northern Ireland and Ireland’s strict abortion laws remain rooted in outdated values which continue to put vulnerable women at risk, something that ASN aim to help with – at least until the law is brought up to date.

“It’s the most marginalised women who tend to have the most trouble accessing abortion care when they need it, those with money can afford to travel and pay for safe care, those without are forced into childbirth, or turn to desperate methods to end the pregnancy.”

Hurley and Lewis have been running the club night on and off for the last few years. The September 30 event will be their ninth, but the first at The Yard theatre.

“[Dan Hampson] doing the programming was really keen to host female-fronted nights and has made a great effort to diversify the stuff that they put on. We were also really happy to find a venue which has wheelchair access and gender neutral toilets, not an easy feat in London it seems! As much as possible we want to create a space that people feel comfortable in, whatever their gender.”

Entry is just £5 for a good cause and a good laugh.

“The night is geared towards having fun and having a dance so we play mostly pop music from the 60s til now – lots of, though not exclusively, female led bands – Destiny’s Child always goes down well! The music is kind of like a house party feel where we play stuff from different decades and genres that people know and like!”

Skirt takes place on Saturday September 30, 10pm to 2:30am at The Yard, 2A Queen’s Yard, E9 5EN.

Tickets are £5 on the door and all proceeds go to Abortion Support Network

Facebook event here


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