Abortion referendum aftermath: Is Northern Ireland next?

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Abortion referendum aftermath: Is Northern Ireland next?
Its laws breach human rights, and its people back change, but politicians remain resistant

Sat, Jun 9, 2018
Fionola Meredith

The decisive vote for repeal in the Republic’s referendum on the Eighth Amendment to its Constitution sent a seismic jolt through Northern Ireland, where abortion remains illegal in almost all cases. It has intensified public conversation about the issue, inspiring pro-choice activists to renew their demands for a change in the law.

Last week, in a protest outside Belfast’s High Court, women from the socialist feminist organisation Rosa NI swallowed abortion pills while being filmed by police. The verdict in the South has also caused uncertainty and dismay in anti-abortion campaigners, who fear that, in the words of the slogan, the North is next.

Continued: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/abortion-referendum-aftermath-is-northern-ireland-next-1.3522667

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If Northern Irish women can now have an abortion in England, why not here?

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If Northern Irish women can now have an abortion in England, why not here?
A policy offering free terminations for those who can travel is a first step. Now we need to change the law for those who can’t
Pro-choice rally in Northern Ireland

Goretti Horgan
Tuesday 22 August 2017

Northern Ireland’s Department of Health has declined to issue new guidance on abortion to doctors and other health professionals because “there has been no change to the law on abortion”. This is despite the fact that the situation clearly has changed since women from the region can now access free, NHS abortions in England.

This stubborn refusal to recognise the reality of women’s reproductive healthcare needs is concerning because it ignores the fact that, at present, GPs in Northern Ireland are not permitted to purchase procedures outside Northern Ireland “that would be illegal in Northern Ireland”. This prohibition clearly needs to be updated to take account of the new situation.

Continued at source: The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/22/women-northern-ireland-abortion-reproductive-rights-westminster-change-law

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UK: BPAS withdraws abortion fees for Northern Irish women

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BPAS withdraws abortion fees for Northern Irish women
British Pregnancy Advisory Services acts ‘in response to government’s commitment to provide abortion care funding’

Henry McDonald Ireland correspondent
Monday 3 July 2017

Northern Irish women who travel to England, Scotland or Wales to have abortions will no longer have to pay consultation and treatment fees to the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.

BPAS announced on Monday that it had decided also to refund women from the region who used their services last Friday, after the threat of a parliamentary defeat over the Queen’s speech last week forced the government to scrap its policy of not funding abortions on the NHS for Northern Irish women in other parts of Britain.

Continued at source: The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/03/bpas-withdraws-abortion-fees-northern-irish-women

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Stella Creasy Has Called For British Women To Be Allies To Northern Irish Women On Abortion

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Stella Creasy Has Called For British Women To Be Allies To Northern Irish Women On Abortion

Labour MP Stella Creasy has put forward an amendment to the Queen's Speech to allow women from Northern Ireland to access NHS abortion services in England and Wales.

Posted on June 23, 2017
Laura Silver
BuzzFeed News Reporter

Labour MP Stella Creasy is calling on women in England and Wales to help women in Northern Ireland access NHS-funded abortion by writing to their MPs in support of an amendment to the Queen's Speech.

Abortion is currently illegal in almost all circumstances in Northern Ireland, where the Abortion Act 1967 – the law which allows access to abortion in the rest of the UK – was never applied.

Continued at source: Buzzfeed: https://www.buzzfeed.com/laurasilver/this-mp-has-called-for-british-women-to-be-allies-to

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We Trust Women: the case for decriminalising abortion

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In every country in the UK today, a woman who ends her own pregnancy without legal authorisation from 2 doctors can be sentenced to life in prison, under legislation passed before women had the vote.

The 1967 Abortion Act did not overturn these laws, but provided legal exemptions. It did not extend to Northern Ireland. Even where the Act applies, abortion is not a choice women can make for herself, but a decision which must be made on her behalf by 2 doctors. And women are still being prosecuted – and imprisoned - for ending their own pregnancies in the UK.

Public opinion is now more liberal than the law, yet we have seen little progress on reproductive rights since the 1960s. Join our panel of experts and discuss why we need to campaign for full decriminalisation of abortion across the UK.

Ann Furedi, Chief Executive of bpas

Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society

Elizabeth Prochaska, Human rights barrister at Matrix Chambers and founder of Birthrights

Diane Munday, Pioneering campaigner for the 1967 Abortion Act and former general secretary of the Abortion Law Reform Association in 1960’s

Goretti Horgan, Alliance for Choice Northern Ireland

Naomi Phillips, British Humanist Association (BHA)

 

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