Northern Ireland’s new abortion guidelines are welcome but should have gone further
Posted: Fri, 27 Mar 2020
by Dr Antony Lempert
As the government publishes a framework for the extension of abortion rights in NI, Dr Antony Lempert welcomes politicians' belated willingness to defend women's right to choose but laments several missed opportunities.
On 23 February 2018 the UN committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) issued a damning verdict on the state of abortion in Northern Ireland. It concluded that women were subject to violence by virtue of the fact that nearly every woman or child who became pregnant had to carry the pregnancy to term. This was the case even where there was evidence that the foetus would not be viable and even in cases of incest or rape.
Another US anti-abortion extremist sticks his nose into UK’s affairs
March 19, 2020
by Barry Duke
FOLLOWING our March 15 report that Roger Kiska, above, of Alliance Defending Freedom, was voicing his anger over an exclusion area outside a London abortion clinic, comes news that another American – ‘pro-life’ congressman Chris Smith, above – is demanding that the British government reverse its decision to impose UK abortion laws on Northern Ireland.
According to far-right Christian website LifeSiteNews, Smith has written to the UK Secretary of State for N Ireland calling on him to refer the province’s abortion laws back to the region’s own devolved government. In a letter co-signed by fellow members of Congress Andy Harris, Ann Wagner and Vicky Hartzler, Smith wrote:
DUP calls for abortion reform to be dealt with at Northern Ireland Assembly
March 18 2020
The DUP has called for the reform of abortion legislation to be dealt with by the Northern Ireland Assembly. Last year, the Westminster parliament introduced new abortion laws in Northern Ireland because of the failure of MLAs to restore power sharing by an October deadline.
At Northern Ireland questions on Wednesday in the Commons, Labour MP Dame Diana Johnson asked for an assessment of the effect of the collapse of Flybe on the ability of women in Northern Ireland to access abortion services in England.
How We Won the Right to Choose
By Maev McDaid and Brian Christopher
Coming hot on the heels of Dublin’s repeal of anti-abortion laws, decriminalization in the North is a decisive victory for Irish feminists. The church and the state are losing their control over our bodies — but we still need to make abortion legal, safe, and free.
October 22 marked a decisive victory in the North of Ireland, as abortion was finally decriminalized. This news will surely have passed many people by — after all, in national as in international media, the North is almost only ever “represented” by the bigots in the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). But last week, this stridently anti-choice party was finally overruled by the Westminster parliament. Its move to decriminalize abortion in the North came fifty years after a similar step was taken on the British mainland. Yet this success especially owes to decades of heroic struggles waged by Irish feminists.
‘It is not a crime’: The women behind North’s abortion law change
Pro-choice campaigners say there is much yet to do, but for now they are celebrating
Oct 26, 2019
Two years ago, a Belfast woman told Danielle Roberts what she had told no one else – that she had had an abortion.
“She closed the kitchen door in her own house before she would say to me that she had taken abortion pills,” says Roberts.
Ireland: this is just the beginning
Decriminalisation is long overdue. But will much change in practice?
Ella Whelan, Columnist
24th October 2019
Northern Ireland’s government in Stormont has been inactive for over 1,000 days. Sinn Fein and the DUP have been unable to bury the hatchet over a botched environmental policy and age-old rows over cultural practices. With the power-sharing agreement unable to function, the Northern Irish civil service has been left running the country, unable to make any key decisions. As a result, the UK parliament passed a law that instructed the two parties to return to Stormont to kiss and make up or face the prospect of Westminster taking over.
After an embarrassing performance in Stormont on Monday, in which a handful of politicians made a hamfisted show of trying to come back together, at midnight Westminsters’ threats became real and the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019 came into force. Most significantly, the law also repealed sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, clearing the way for the decriminalisation of abortion.
Decriminalisation of abortion in North leads to confusion
Legislation due by end of March 2020 but the situation in the meantime is uncertain
Oct 22, 2019
Gerry Moriarty, Freya McClements
Abortion was decriminalised from midnight on Monday in Northern Ireland despite a last-ditch attempt by unionist Assembly members to override Westminster legislation.
Women who seek access to abortion in Northern Ireland will not be prosecuted, investigations of illegal abortions will no longer be pursued, and prosecutions currently under way will be halted.
Abortion is now no longer illegal in Northern Ireland
22 October 2019
By Jessica Hamzelou
Abortion in Northern Ireland is now legal. As of midnight on Monday 21 October, women and girls can legally access abortions and seek medical aftercare, and the UK government will fund journeys to England for the procedure.
The UK Offences Against the Person Act ruled that “procuring a miscarriage” was against the law in 1861. The Abortion Act legalised abortions in some cases in 1967, but not in Northern Ireland, where the procedure remained illegal even in cases of rape, incest and when the fetus is unlikely to survive.
Derry Girls star Siobhan McSweeney condemns DUP leader over abortion reform: ‘You lost’
‘Decency, compassion and solidarity WON’
Oct 22, 2019
Derry Girls star Siobhan McSweeney has called out politician Arlene Foster after the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader made a failed attempt to prevent the decriminalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland.
At midnight, abortion became legal in Northern Ireland following a landslide vote made by MPs in Westminster in July.
Abortion to be decriminalised in Northern Ireland
Much to the chagrin of the DUP, Northern Ireland will be brought into regulatory alignment with the rest of the UK.
Oct 21, 2019
Women in Northern Ireland will have a legal right to safe abortions from midnight local time (23:00 GMT) on Monday, after a last-ditch bid to maintain the illegality of terminations fell apart in the regional legislature.
MPs at Westminster successfully amended a bill in the summer to include measures to end the near-blanket prohibition on abortion and introduce same-sex marriage, bringing Northern Ireland into regulatory alignment with the rest of the United Kingdom.