Can you really be jailed for abortion in Northern Ireland?

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Can you really be jailed for abortion in Northern Ireland?

By Patrick Worrall
25 Jul 2018

The claim
“In Northern Ireland, if you are raped and you have become pregnant and you seek a termination, as a result you could face a longer prison sentence than the person who attacked you.” - Stella Creasy, 23 July 2018

The background
Campaigners are calling for the UK government to decriminalise abortion in Northern Ireland.

Continued: https://www.channel4.com/news/factcheck/factcheck-can-you-really-be-jailed-for-abortion-in-northern-ireland

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UK politicians call for Northern Ireland abortion reforms

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UK politicians call for Northern Ireland abortion reforms
Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where abortion is illegal unless pregnancy poses a serious health risk.

22 Jul 2018

More than 170 politicians from the UK and Ireland have signed a letter calling on the UK government to decriminalise abortion in Northern Ireland.

The cross-party letter, published in UK newspaper The Sunday Times, said the "current situation for women [in Northern Ireland] cannot be ignored or allowed to continue".

Continued: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/07/uk-politicians-call-northern-ireland-abortion-reforms-180722081907466.html

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Rise in women travelling from Northern Ireland to England for abortions

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Rise in women travelling from Northern Ireland to England for abortions
Campaigners say having different abortion laws on either side of Irish border breaches Good Friday agreement

James Tapper
Sat 21 Jul 2018

The number of women travelling from Northern Ireland to have an abortion in England has jumped dramatically since the government set up a special hotline in March.

A total of 342 women and girls – including at least one 12-year-old – went to England for a termination through the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) in the three months since March: a significant increase on the 190 women who travelled to use the same service in the previous nine months.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/21/women-travelling-from-northern-ireland-to-england-for-abortions

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Criminalised abortion in UK obstructs reflective choice and best care

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Criminalised abortion in UK obstructs reflective choice and best care

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k2928
Published 09 July 2018
Sandy Goldbeck-Wood, Abigail Aiken, David Horwell, Oskari Heikinheimo, Ganesh Acharya, editorial board of BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health

Theresa May could seize this opportunity for evidence based reform

The recent decisions to liberalise abortion laws in the Republic of Ireland and the Isle of Man1 have put pressure on the British prime minister, Theresa May, to consider decriminalising abortion in the UK. Although she believes “that a woman should be able to access safe, legal abortion,”2 she has not yet acted to initiate amendment of the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act—perhaps in fear of Northern Ireland's anti-abortion Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), on which her minority government depends.

Continued: https://www.bmj.com/content/362/bmj.k2928

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The Anti-Abortion Lobby In The UK Has More Power Than You Realise

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The Anti-Abortion Lobby In The UK Has More Power Than You Realise
Jeremy Hunt's refusal to extend at-home abortions to women in England has nothing to do with women's welfare, and everything to do with politics

by Vicky Spratt
July 4, 2018

Donald Trump really has a way with words doesn’t he? As the news that Supreme Court judge Anthony Kennedy was retiring, women’s hearts raced. This is the Hand Maid’s Tale-esque moment American women had feared since the news broke that Trump had beaten Hillary: it is the right’s chance to undo Roe versus Wade: the landmark ruling that legalised abortion in America.

What has Trump said about it? Simply, when it comes to replacing Kennedy he plans to pick ‘a great one’ who, presumably, will be about as great as America is right now under his watch. Perhaps ‘great’ for Trump is a bit like ‘Brexit’ for Theresa May – a catch all phrase for something chaotically bad.

Continued: https://graziadaily.co.uk/life/real-life/the-anti-abortion-lobby-in-the-uk-has-more-power-than-you-realise/

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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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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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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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