From Ireland to Northern Ireland: campaigns for abortion law

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From Ireland to Northern Ireland: campaigns for abortion law

Angel Li
Published: 16 June 2018
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31357-6 |

After Ireland successfully overturned its 8th Amendment using grassroots activism, attention turns to Northern Ireland's abortion laws. Angel Li reports from Dublin.

Sitting in a quiet carriage of a train to Gatwick Airport, my thoughts turned to the women taking this same route back to Ireland after travelling to the UK for abortions. I wondered if anyone was on this train for that very purpose. More than 170 000 women have travelled abroad from Ireland seeking abortions since 1980.

Having arrived at Gatwick Airport, I met two volunteers working with the London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign who were taking the same flight to Dublin as me.

Continued: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)31357-6/fulltext

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Northern Ireland abortion laws must not be changed in Westminster, says Karen Bradley

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Northern Ireland abortion laws must not be changed in Westminster, says Karen Bradley
Karen Bradley insisted that people in the north do not want MPs making decisions on abortion laws

12 June, 2018

WESTMINSTER politicians are not qualified to change abortion laws for Northern Ireland, the secretary of state has said.

Karen Bradley insisted that people in the north do not want MPs making decisions on whether to overhaul the existing regime, as she explained the UK government's reluctance to intervene.

She said it was another example of why the Stormont executive needed to be reformed.

Continued: https://www.irishnews.com/news/northernirelandnews/2018/06/12/news/northern-ireland-abortion-laws-must-not-be-changed-in-westminster-says-karen-bradley-1353442/

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How did Northern Ireland lawmakers carve out an anti-abortion ‘ghetto’ within the UK?

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How did Northern Ireland lawmakers carve out an anti-abortion ‘ghetto’ within the UK?
Northern Ireland remains a blind spot for equality for women and members of the LGBTIQ community. Will Ireland’s abortion referendum change this?

Stephanie Williamson
11 June 2018

More than two weeks have passed since Ireland’s historic abortion referendum was won by a groundswell of grassroots feminist activism. A large majority (66.4%) voted to repeal the country’s eighth constitutional amendment, opening the door to proposed legislation to allow abortions up to 12 weeks.

Huge numbers of repeal campaigners and voters were young women – with a staggering 94% increase in the turnout of women aged 18-24, compared to the 2016 general election. The result reflected a frank rejection of decades of misogyny and the suffocating grip of church and state on women’s rights.

Continued: https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/stephanie-williamson/northern-ireland-anti-abortion-ghetto-uk

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Abortion campaigners target Sajid Javid over Northern Ireland

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Abortion campaigners target Sajid Javid over Northern Ireland
Pro-choice MPs seek to put down amendment to grant right to access terminations

Rajeev Syal
Mon 11 Jun 2018

Sajid Javid will come under pressure from a crossbench group of MPs to bring forward a bill that would allow reformers to decriminalise abortion in Northern Ireland.

More than 30 MPs have pledged to send the home secretary written questions on Monday demanding the domestic abuse bill be brought before parliament by the autumn. This would allow pro-choice MPs to put down an amendment that would give women in Northern Ireland the right to access terminations.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/11/abortion-campaigners-target-sajid-javid-over-northern-ireland

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UK – Stella Creasy’s abortion law campaign showed practical politics at its best

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Stella Creasy’s abortion law campaign showed practical politics at its best
Courteous, attentive and largely free of partisan posturing, the debate on Northern Ireland’s law was a triumph of cross-party collaboration

Helen Lewis
Sun 10 Jun 2018

The most striking moment in politics last week was not David Davis’s fifth (unfulfilled) threat to resign. Nor was it Boris Johnson’s latest (unpunished) violation of collective responsibility. It wasn’t even the spectacle of hours of intense cabinet psychodrama finally resulting in a customs proposal that was instantly shot down by the EU’s chief negotiator. In Brexitland, a lot happens – but very little changes.

No, the week’s most interesting political event came late on Monday, when the Speaker, John Bercow, asked if he had “the leave of the House” to grant Labour backbencher Stella Creasy an emergency debate on Northern Irish abortion law. In silence, the vast majority of the MPs present in the Commons stood up – and the debate was granted. Supporters of the motion included the new minister for women, Penny Mordaunt, and Karen Bradley, the secretary of state for Northern Ireland.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/10/stella-creasy-abortion-law-campaign-practical-politics-at-its-best

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Strong support for abortion laws reform at Belfast suffrage parade

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Strong support for abortion laws reform at Belfast suffrage parade
Many of the 5,000 participants used the parade to back a change in laws in Northern Ireland

June 10 2018

A reinvigorated campaign to reform abortion laws in Northern Ireland featured prominently in the Belfast parade to mark women’s suffrage in the UK.

A sizeable number of the estimated 5,000 participants used the Processions 2018 event to voice support for a change in laws in the region.

Continued: https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/strong-support-for-abortion-laws-reform-at-belfast-suffrage-parade-36995245.html

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Abortion referendum aftermath: Is Northern Ireland next?

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Abortion referendum aftermath: Is Northern Ireland next?
Its laws breach human rights, and its people back change, but politicians remain resistant

Sat, Jun 9, 2018
Fionola Meredith

The decisive vote for repeal in the Republic’s referendum on the Eighth Amendment to its Constitution sent a seismic jolt through Northern Ireland, where abortion remains illegal in almost all cases. It has intensified public conversation about the issue, inspiring pro-choice activists to renew their demands for a change in the law.

Last week, in a protest outside Belfast’s High Court, women from the socialist feminist organisation Rosa NI swallowed abortion pills while being filmed by police. The verdict in the South has also caused uncertainty and dismay in anti-abortion campaigners, who fear that, in the words of the slogan, the North is next.

Continued: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/abortion-referendum-aftermath-is-northern-ireland-next-1.3522667

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Rise in NI women going to England for abortions

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Rise in NI women going to England for abortions

June 7, 2018

More than 900 women from Northern Ireland travelled to England for an abortion last year, according to UK Department of Health figures. The number was an increase of over 25% on the year before and the highest level since 2011.

The law is much stricter in Northern Ireland than in the rest of the UK. It is only permitted if a woman's life is at risk, or there is a permanent or serious risk to her mental or physical health.

Continued: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-44382514

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The Guardian view on Northern Ireland and abortion: the mounting demand for change

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The Guardian view on Northern Ireland and abortion: the mounting demand for change
Editorial
A judgment from the UK’s supreme court adds to the already overwhelming case for reforming oppressive laws

Thu 7 Jun 2018

The moral case for the reform of Northern Ireland’s harsh abortion laws, which forbid terminations even in the case of rape or fatal foetal abnormalities, has long been clear. But the sweeping victory for reform in the Irish abortion referendum last month made it starker than ever. The logical case is obvious: the restrictions do not prevent but displace abortions, with women travelling across the Irish Sea to end their pregnancies. The political case is equally evident: poll after poll has shown that voters in Northern Ireland believe the law must change. Now the supreme court has laid out the legal case.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/07/the-guardian-view-on-northern-ireland-and-abortion-the-mounting-demand-for-change

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U.K. Court Dismisses Challenge to Northern Ireland Abortion Law

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U.K. Court Dismisses Challenge to Northern Ireland Abortion Law

By Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura and Richard Pérez-Peña
June 7, 2018

LONDON — Britain’s Supreme Court on Thursday struck down an attempt to overturn Northern Ireland’s restrictive laws on abortion over a legal technicality, barely two weeks after Ireland voted in a landslide to do away with similar rules.

But in an important caveat, Justice Brenda M. Hale, president of the court, said that a majority of the justices “are of the firm and clear opinion that the current law is incompatible with” the European Convention on Human Rights, to which Britain is a party.

Continued; https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/07/world/europe/uk-northern-ireland-abortion.html

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