Northern Ireland’s Abortion Laws Are Archaic – But The Fight Isn’t Over
Today’s ruling is a hard-won victory for women. Now, we need to confine these cruel laws to history, writes BPAS’ Katherine O’Brien.
By Katherine O'Brien
On Thursday a ruling from the High Court in Belfast has confirmed what campaigners, healthcare providers, and the women of Northern Ireland have known for years – that the country’s archaic, cruel abortion law is in breach of the UK’s human rights commitments.
This is a hard-won victory. Sarah Ewart is a young mother who had to travel to England for an abortion after receiving the devastating diagnosis that her baby would not survive outside the womb. Sarah has spent years in and out of court in order to challenge the near-total abortion ban which does not permit abortion in cases of fatal foetal anomaly. The ruling on Thursday that the current ban is in breach of her human rights is a testament to her bravery and courage.
Why An Abortion Was The Right Choice For Me: 5 Women Share Their Story
Vogue speaks to five women around the world – from Northern Ireland to Bolivia – who share their deeply personal experiences of abortion, and explain why they believe the choice is a fundamental human right.
By Emily Chan
Friday 5 July 2019
When Alabama passed its anti-abortion law in May – 46 years after abortion was first legalised in the US, in 1973 – it sparked international outcry. The ban, which prevents abortion in nearly all cases, led to thousands of women sharing their abortion experiences on social media, using #YouKnowMe, a campaign launched by American actress Busy Philipps. “One in four women will have an abortion before age 45,” said Philipps on her late-night show. “Maybe you’re sitting there thinking, ‘I don’t know a woman who would have an abortion.’ Well, you know me.”
As Philipps highlights, this is a subject relevant to us all; regardless of age, geography or socio-economic context. Crucially, a woman's fundamental right to choose is under attack, as pockets of political discourse seek to control women’s bodies and reproductive rights.
Northern Ireland abortion: Westminster inquiry mounts pressure on UK Government to reform law
Women and Equality Committee report makes clear UK Government responsible for addressing breach of women’s rights in Northern Ireland
25 Apr 2019
The Women and Equalities Committee have today (25 April) published their inquiry report on abortion in Northern Ireland. Amnesty International UK and the Family Planning Association have welcomed the report and called on the UK Government to take immediate action.
The report identifies serious concerns with the abortion law and makes a series of important recommendations on the law, policy and practice governing abortion access for women in Northern Ireland. Critically, it calls on the UK Government to address the rights breaches found by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
BBC provides abortion information after Call the Midwife row
BBC had said it could not offer advice because abortion was a ‘contentious’ issue
Sun 17 Feb 2019
The BBC has said it will give viewers information about abortion after it was criticised following an episode of the popular drama Call the Midwife.
Women complained that no information was provided on the BBC Action Line after an episode, broadcast this month, in which a patient died following an illegal backstreet abortion.
MPs step up pressure for Northern Ireland abortion reform
Cross-party calls for backing on plan to force May to intervene
Sat 2 Jun 2018
MPs are being canvassed to back a plan to force through measures liberalising abortion in Northern Ireland, it has emerged.
A cross-party coalition has drawn up a proposal that would force Theresa May into taking action. Some of the most senior women in the Tory party are said to be supportive of the campaign following the landslide result in Ireland’s referendum in favour of ending its near total ban on abortion.
NORTHERN IRELAND – “The North is next” – proposals put forward to try and make this happen
by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
June 1, 2018
As in Ireland up to now, it is almost impossible to get an abortion in Northern Ireland. The most immediate fallout of the Irish referendum results on 26 May was the call from many quarters for Northern Ireland to be next. However, there are complex political realities that will get in the way. The first and most important is that policy on abortion was devolved by the UK Parliament to Northern Ireland and Scotland some years back, as part of changes introduced by the then Labour government to give Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland more local control over a range of issues.
The problem now is that Northern Ireland hasn’t had a functioning government for more than a year, so there is no way it can act. Secondly, there is no guarantee its government would reform the abortion law even if it suddenly got back on its feet. One of the strongest and most reactionary Northern Irish parties, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), is dead set against legalising abortion. Moreover, they currently have a controlling say in the politics of the UK overall, because the Conservative Party does not have a parliamentary majority, and they made a deal with the DUP last year after the election to support them to get unpopular legislation through.
Belfast council passes abortion pills motion against prosecutions
Councillors denounce court cases of women in Northern Ireland who procure pills online
Henry McDonald Ireland correspondent
Mon 9 Apr 2018
Belfast city council has passed a motion condemning the arrest and attempted prosecution of women in Northern Ireland who procure abortion pills online.
The motion denounced cases such as the one involving a mother who obtained abortion pills for her 15-year-old daughter after her child was raped. The mother faces prosecution in a court case in Belfast next month.
The situation in Northern Ireland constitutes violence against women - CEDAW Inquiry
Feb 23, 2018
CEDAW Finds Human Rights Breaches by UK Government
Report on inquiry welcomed by Alliance for Choice
The UK violates the rights of women in Northern Ireland by unduly restricting their access to abortion, a UN expert committee has found.
Alliance for Choice are interested to note that the CEDAW Inquiry report has been published today. Emma Campbell Co-Chair says,
"We want to make humble thanks to the incredible women who bravely gave their testimonies to the CEDAW committee. Alliance for Choice, along with the Family Planning Association and NIWEP, feel vindicated in the report's findings on the many Human Rights breaches occurring daily due to the political lack of will in both Stormont and Westminster. We hope that the UK government will now recognise its responsibility to women in NI and legislate to implement the Committee's recommendations.
Abortion campaigners urge Scottish Government to 'strongly fight' legal challenge to at-home terminations
Helen McArdle, Health Correspondent
Dec 21, 2017
ALLOWING women to take the abortion pill at home is “perfectly safe” and would bring an end to the “horrendous experience” of women haemorrhaging as they travel home from clinics, campaigners have said.
In a letter in today’s Herald, a number of pro-choice groups, trade unions and politicians hit back at a legal challenge mounted against the Scottish Government’s plan to enable women up to nine weeks pregnant to take the drug misoprostol at home, and urged ministers to “strongly fight” the legal action.
Continued at source: http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/health/15787609.Campaigners_urge_ministers_to__strongly_fight__abortion_pill_legal_challenge/
A “controversial” Northern Irish anti-abortion campaign doesn’t deserve a PR award
When women’s lives and freedoms are imperilled, the publicity should always be bad, says Rebecca Schiller
By Rebecca Schiller
Dec 13, 2017
“Controversial” is a word too often used to hide the leer of evil things or bad people attempting to pass themselves off as one side of a reasonable debate. Milo Yiannopoulos was “controversial” until he gave the thumbs-up to paedophiles. It is the epithet chosen to introduce Breitbart into polite society and let’s not forget the ever so “controversial” child tax credit “rape clause”.
Real controversy is important and can spark the kind of debate that makes positive change and progress happen. But these people, ideas and statements are not important facets of a three-dimensional debate. They are not controversial – they are malignant and dangerous.
Continued at source: https://www.the-pool.com/news-views/politics/2017/50/Rebecca-Schiller-on-Both-Lives-Matter-controversial-win?mc_cid=402a629e5a&mc_eid=daef22644f