Northern Ireland’s restrictive abortion laws must end

Northern Ireland's restrictive abortion laws must end

Cahir O'Doherty
Nov 09, 2018

In Northern Ireland a woman who has been raped or abused can still receive a longer prison sentence than her rapist or abuser if she seeks to end the resulting unwanted pregnancy.

Sit with the implications of that sentence for a moment. Thanks the 1861 Offenses Against The Person Act, written over 151 years ago, anyone performing or receiving abortions there can be threatened with life imprisonment.

Continued: https://www.irishcentral.com/homepage/northern-ireland-abortion-ban-must-end

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UK – Diana Johnson interview: “We need a modern, fit-for-purpose abortion law”

Diana Johnson interview: “We need a modern, fit-for-purpose abortion law”

Sienna Rodgers
23rd October, 2018

Labour MP Diana Johnson will today introduce a ten-minute rule bill in the House of Commons that would see abortion decriminalised. Currently, the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861 makes abortion illegal in the UK except when there is a risk to the life or health of the mother, and this legislation was only partly superseded by the Abortion Act 1967. Ahead of tabling the backbench bill, Johnson spoke to LabourList.

How did abortion become a key focus in your work as an MP?

Continued: https://labourlist.org/2018/10/diana-johnson-interview-we-need-a-modern-fit-for-purpose-abortion-law/

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Labour MPs in fresh bid to legalise abortion in Northern Ireland

Labour MPs in fresh bid to legalise abortion in Northern Ireland
Stella Creasy launches new attempt after government rebuffs move by colleague

Dan Sabbagh
Tue 23 Oct 2018

Eighty MPs have signed an amendment that aims to legalise abortion in Northern Ireland as part of a bill before the Commons on Wednesday designed to give civil servants in the region greater power in the absence of a functioning Stormont.

The amendment, put down by Labour’s Stella Creasy and Conor McGinn, would abolish the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act, still applicable in Northern Ireland, which makes obtaining or helping somebody obtain an abortion a criminal offence.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/oct/23/mps-support-new-amendment-to-override-stormont-northern-ireland-on-abortion

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N. Ireland- DUP calls for its voice to be heard in Westminster abortion inquiry

DUP calls for its voice to be heard in Westminster abortion inquiry

Ellen Coyne, Senior Ireland Reporter
September 25 2018

The DUP has expressed reservations about a Westminster inquiry into Northern Ireland’s abortion ban, and appealed for all views to be represented.

The staunchly anti-abortion party, which is supporting the prime minister Theresa May’s Conservative minority government, has also claimed that some UK politicians have used the issue to try to embarrass the British government.

Continued: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/dup-calls-for-its-voice-to-be-heard-in-westminster-abortion-inquiry-qdthpbbmx

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Allowing English women to take the abortion pill at home is good news – and now we’re coming for you, Northern Ireland

Allowing English women to take the abortion pill at home is good news – and now we're coming for you, Northern Ireland

Harriet Marsden
25 August 2018

As landmark women’s health text Our Bodies, Ourselves put it in 1970, abortion is “our right ... as women to control our own bodies. The existence of any abortion laws (however ‘liberal’) denies this right.”

Those rights are advancing in some parts of the UK, and stalling in others. The latest development is that women in England will soon be able to take an abortion pill at home: a small but significant step forward that many welcome. Yet in Northern Ireland, women still face draconian laws and life in prison for daring to access their reproductive rights.

Continued: https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/abortion-pill-at-home-northern-ireland-pregnancy-a8507811.html

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Criminalised abortion in UK obstructs reflective choice and best care

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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Northern Ireland – McDonald calls for reality check to overcome abortion objections

McDonald calls for reality check to overcome abortion objections
Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald has said those supporting the ongoing ban on abortion in Northern Ireland need “a reality check”.

On a visit to London for a meeting with Theresa May, Mrs McDonald repeated her call for abortion reform north of the border following Ireland’s historic referendum last month.

Continued: https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/mcdonald-calls-for-reality-check-to-overcome-abortion-objections-850105.html

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

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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Abortion campaigners target Sajid Javid over Northern Ireland

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

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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