Northern Ireland needs equal marriage and abortion rights – but no referendum

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Northern Ireland needs equal marriage and abortion rights – but no referendum

Richard Angell
Tue 19 Dec 2017

Owen Smith, the shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland, has a plan. He says that if Northern Ireland is to have a sustained period of unwelcome direct rule, he favours putting marriage equality and abortion to referendums so that Westminster can feel empowered to make change happen.

The shadow Northern Ireland secretary is right to want to see progress on both these issues – it is appalling that the people of Northern Ireland do not have the same equal marriage laws or reproductive rights as their fellow citizens in the rest of the United Kingdom. For the avoidance of doubt, our preference would be for the institutions to get back up and running as soon as possible. It is a tragedy that the UK government isn’t working harder to achieve that because of the survival pact Theresa May has signed with the DUP. Direct rule is bad for Northern Ireland for a whole range of reasons.

Continued at source: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/19/northern-ireland-lgbt-abortion-rights-referendum

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Belfast abortion clinic ‘disappointed’ by Westminster’s refusal of funding

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Belfast abortion clinic ‘disappointed’ by Westminster’s refusal of funding

Ellen Coyne, Senior Ireland News Reporter
August 19 2017, The Times

An abortion clinic has said it is “disappointed” that the UK government will not cover the cost of abortions for Northern Irish women who access the procedure in Belfast.

Westminster yesterday refused to clarify to The Times that the DUP, its anti-abortion coalition partner, had influenced the decision.

Continued at source: The Times: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/belfast-abortion-clinic-disappointed-by-westminsters-refusal-of-funding-69npw8wlf

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UK: DUP MP says ‘right of unborn child will trump any political agreement’ with Tories

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DUP MP says 'right of unborn child will trump any political agreement' with Tories

Ian Paisley Jr issues 'warning' to MPs who might seek to raise issue in the Commons

Ben Kentish
Wednesday 5 July 2017

The DUP will not compromise on its anti-abortion views as part of its deal with the Conservatives, one of the party’s MPs has said.

Ian Paisley Jr, the son of DUP founder Ian Paisley, said his party’s anti-abortion commitments “trump any political deal” and issued a warning to any MPs who try to raise the issue in the House of Commons. The party has signed a formal agreement to back Theresa May in key Commons votes after she saw her parliamentary majority evaporate at the general election.

Continued at source: the Independent: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/dup-abortion-no-compromise-conservatives-tories-deal-mp-ian-paisley-jr-northern-ireland-a7824141.html

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Northern Ireland women to get free abortions in England

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Northern Ireland women to get free abortions in England

29 June 2017
Women from Northern Ireland will be able to get free abortions in England, the government has said.

More than 50 MPs from the major parties had backed a Labour-led call for the women to have access to NHS abortions in England. They currently have to pay.

The BBC's political editor said ministers made the concession because it appeared some Tory MPs might back the call, risking a possible defeat.

Continued at link: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-40438390

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UK: Theresa May urged to give Tory MPs free vote on scrapping abortion charges for Northern Irish women coming to Britain

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Theresa May urged to give Tory MPs free vote on scrapping abortion charges for Northern Irish women coming to Britain

Conservative MPs are expected to be whipped to vote against free terminations – despite abortion issues being a 'matter of conscience'

Rob Merrick Deputy Political Editor
Tuesday 27 June 2017

Theresa May is being challenged to give Conservative MPs a free vote on scrapping charges for Northern Irish women forced to travel to Britain for an abortion.

Scores of MPs will try to secure free NHS terminations for many hundreds of women who make the journey every year – typically paying £1,400 for a private operation – in a showdown vote expected on Thursday.

Continued at source: The Independent: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/theresa-may-tory-mp-free-vote-northern-ireland-women-abortions-forced-travel-britain-uk-supreme-a7810981.html

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Northern Ireland: We are the invisible victims of the DUP’s anti-abortion hardliners

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We are the invisible victims of the DUP’s anti-abortion hardliners
Any fight to protect women’s rights under a Tory-DUP regime is useless if it ignores the fight in Northern Ireland to have these rights for the first time

Elizabeth Nelson
Monday 19 June 2017

Five years ago a 15-year-old girl travelled from Northern Ireland to Manchester with her mother to have an abortion in a private clinic. The procedure plus travel and accommodation cost them about £900. They were UK citizens. Had they been resident elsewhere in the UK, a termination would have been free on the NHS. But they were from Northern Ireland and this is the price – psychological, medical, physical and literal – that women in Northern Ireland pay for living here.

Amid the outrage about what a British government propped up by the Democratic Unionist party would mean for the rights of women in Britain, and for lesbian, gay and transgender communities, the experiences of those groups in Northern Ireland have been all but invisible.

Continued at source: The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/19/invisible-victims-dup-anti-abortion-womens-rights-northern-ireland

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Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon’s new NHS abortion plans which will INFURIATE the DUP

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Nicola Sturgeon's new NHS abortion plans which will INFURIATE the DUP

NICOLA Sturgeon plans to offer free abortions to women who travel to Scotland from Northern Ireland, in direct opposition to the Government's would-be political allies the DUP.

By Ross Logan
PUBLISHED: Sun, Jun 18, 2017

The First Minister is said to be concerned by a Supreme Court ruling last week which rejected an appeal for women in Northern Ireland to be allowed to terminate pregnancies safely and legally through NHS England.

Her ruling SNP party are now examining the implications of the legal case in Scotland, where the law is relaxed enough for doctors to be able to turn a "blind eye" to Northern Irish women seeking an abortion who give the address of a Scottish friend.

Continued at source: The Express: https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/818440/Nicola-Sturgeon-abortion-SNP-Northern-Ireland-DUP

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UK: RCOG and FSRH letter on DUP abortion stance

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RCOG and FSRH letter on DUP abortion stance
14 June 2017

The President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Professor Lesley Regan, and the President of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, Dr Asha Kasliwal, have today written to the Prime Minister expressing their deep concern about the potential impact on current abortion policy should the Conservative Party govern with the support of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

Continued at source: Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists: https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/news/rcog-and-fsrh-letter-on-dup-abortion-stance/?platform=hootsuite

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UK: Let’s not shy away from the real reason why everyone mentions the DUP’s stance on LGBT rights, but not women’s rights

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Let’s not shy away from the real reason why everyone mentions the DUP’s stance on LGBT rights, but not women’s rights

Women can’t rely on the benevolence of individually powerful female politicians, or trust in the good intentions of male politicians who mouth the right words up until the moment anything is actually on the line

Sarah Ditum
Tuesday 13 June 2017

Before 10pm last Thursday night, the DUP was a shambles of a party whose leader Arlene Foster was responsible for the cash-for-ash scandal which has cost an estimated £490m and caused the collapse of power sharing in Northern Ireland. The moment the exit poll was in, it became one of the biggest forces in British politics as the prospect of the party entering into a confidence-and-supply arrangement to support a minority Tory government took hold.

Continued at source: The Independent: https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/dup-womens-rights-abortion-lgbt-rights-reproductive-theresa-may-coalition-of-chaos-a7788231.html

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UK: Why more power for the DUP is bad news for abortion rights

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Why more power for the DUP is bad news for abortion rights

June 12, 2017
Author: Pam Lowe
Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Aston University, member of Abortion Rights and the Labour Party.

For decades, there was a lack of awareness in the rest of the UK that the 1967 Abortion Act did not apply to Northern Ireland. This started to change recently, as organisations such as the UN joined abortion activists in drawing attention to the lack of access to abortion for women in Northern Ireland. This general election result, in which the DUP was thrust centre stage as potential props of a minority Conservative government, is likely to further shine a light on their record.

Women’s rights to abortion in Northern Ireland have been held back significantly by this socially conservative party. DUP MPs have also consistently voted against abortion rights in the mainland – and are likely to do so again in the future.

Continued at source: The Conversation: https://theconversation.com/why-more-power-for-the-dup-is-bad-news-for-abortion-rights-79267

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