When I first told my dad that I was involved with the Abortion Support Network, his face lit up in recognition: "Josie used to do that," he said, about an old girlfriend of his. In the early 70s, when abortion was illegal in France, she was part of a group which helped women to make contact with 'friendly' doctors in Paris, and supported, hosted and funded them throughout their journeys.
(He then told me the story of The Greatest Shit Of His Life, atop the Pyrenees while hitchhiking back from a trip to Portugal to celebrate the Carnation Revolution. "It was just after dawn, a crisp and freezing morning, the steam almost glittered in the sun's first rays..." Shortly afterwards, Josie left him for a Basque terrorist.)
I never met her, but hearing this - and reading Ann Rossiter's Ireland's Hidden Diaspora - gave me such a happy. A feeling of peace and optimism, and continuity: the knowledge that people have been doing this for decades, for centuries, and will carry on doing whatever's necessary long after I'm gone.