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

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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The Supreme Court says women’s human rights are being breached in Northern Ireland – if Theresa May doesn’t act, her legacy will be in tatters

The Supreme Court says women’s human rights are being breached in Northern Ireland – if Theresa May doesn’t act, her legacy will be in tatters
As the Labour MP Stella Creasy stated, 'is the government really going to force a rape victim to come and give evidence in open court to change the law?'

Katie Goh
June 7, 2018

This morning, the UK’s Supreme Court dismissed the Northern Irish Human Rights Commission (NIHRC)’s appeal to overturn Northern Ireland’s strict abortion laws. While the Supreme Court judges agreed that Northern Ireland’s laws are incompatible with human rights in the cases of rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormality, the appeal was rejected due to a technicality. By the narrow majority of four to three judges, the Court ruled that they had no jurisdiction because there was no actual or potential victim of an unlawful act involved in the case.

Continued: https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/northern-ireland-abortion-law-supreme-court-human-rights-theresa-may-a8387506.html

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Ireland – Emotional abortion debate draws gasps in House of Commons

Emotional abortion debate draws gasps in House of Commons
DUP hardline reinforced with claim abortion sometimes used as form of contraception

June 6, 2018
Denis Staunton

Sammy Wilson could not have known that he would be called to speak immediately after Conservative MP Heidi Allen had brought a hush to the House of Commons when she spoke of her own experience of abortion.

“Because I have been there, I am making it my business,” she said about the call to extend abortion rights to Northern Ireland.

Continued: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/emotional-abortion-debate-draws-gasps-in-house-of-commons-1.3520499

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NI abortion law should be changed at Stormont, Sinn Féin says

NI abortion law should be changed at Stormont, Sinn Féin says
Michelle O’Neill open to Intergovernmental Conference tackling issue in absence of powersharing

June 5, 2018
Amanda Ferguson Belfast

Legislative change on abortion in Northern Ireland should be brought about by the Stormont Assembly or through the British and Irish Intergovernmental Conference, Sinn Fén vice president Michelle O’Neill has said.

She was speaking after a three-hour debate in the House of Commons on a proposal to repeal two sections of the 1861 Offences against the Person Act (OAPA) which criminalise abortion in the North.

Continued: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/abortion-referendum/ni-abortion-law-should-be-changed-at-stormont-sinn-f%C3%A9in-says-1.3520468

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