Northern Ireland’s abortion laws are an abomination. Westminster must step in

Northern Ireland’s abortion laws are an abomination. Westminster must step in
The government must heed a select committee report – and end the brutal, primitivist treatment of women in the region

Polly Toynbee
Thu 25 Apr 2019

They were all there: Northern Ireland’s DUP and Sinn Féin leaders, side by side with the Good Friday agreement’s guarantors, the British and Irish prime ministers. All were gathered at the funeral of the journalist Lyra McKee. “Why in God’s name,” asked Fr Martin Magill, had it taken her death to bring them together? But his exasperated tone implied he didn’t expect a political miracle.

Visit this deadlocked region, the UK’s poorest, and it feels transformed from the dark days of the troubles. But its political paralysis is partly a product of Westminster’s longstanding neglect of the region, at least until the DUP unexpectedly came to play a pivotal role in the Brexit psychodrama. The red hand of Ulster holds in its palm the fate of May’s Brexit deal, though the DUP doesn’t represent the far more progressive and forward-looking remain-voting country. The party may yet become Boris Johnson’s kingmakers through its refusal to back Theresa May’s deal.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/25/northern-ireland-abortion-laws-westminster-dup-women

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UK – Ministers accused of inaction over Northern Ireland abortion rights

Ministers accused of inaction over Northern Ireland abortion rights
MPs say government must provide clarity on legal situation for women

Heather Stewart Political editor
Thu 25 Apr 2019

Ministers must act urgently to address human rights breaches faced by women in Northern Ireland who seek an abortion, according to a damning report from a cross-party committee of MPs.

The women and equalities committee accuses the government of failing to tackle challenges identified by a UN committee on women’s rights last year, which found “systematic violations”.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/apr/25/ministers-accused-of-inaction-over-northern-ireland-abortion-rights

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Northern Ireland abortion protest led by Derry Girls and cross-party MPs at Westminster

Northern Ireland abortion protest led by Derry Girls and cross-party MPs at Westminster
Karen Bradley must 'stop hiding behind the excuse of devolution' and decriminalise terminations, says Amnesty

Maya Oppenheim, Women's Correspondent @mayaoppenheim
Feb 26, 2019

Female MPs and the stars of the TV programme Derry Girls marched on Westminster to call for the decriminalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland has a ban on abortions in almost all cases – even rape or incest. Abortion is only permitted when there is a risk to the life of the mother, or a serious risk to her physical or mental health.

Continued: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/northern-ireland-abortion-protest-derry-girls-westminster-a8798281.html

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Derry Girls join Northern Ireland abortion protest

Derry Girls join Northern Ireland abortion protest
Cast members march on Westminster to lobby secretary of state for change in law

Mattha Busby
Tue 26 Feb 2019

Stars of the hit television show Derry Girls have joined a group of female MPs in a march on Westminster calling for the extension of abortion rights to Northern Ireland.

The women, including the actors Siobhan McSweeney and Nicola Coughlan, formed part of a group of 28 to symbolise the number of people who leave Northern Ireland for England and Wales each week to have an abortion.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/26/derry-girls-northern-ireland-abortion-protest

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Abortion law change: Is Northern Ireland really next?

Abortion law change: Is Northern Ireland really next?
Pro-choice activists in the North hope a string of court cases will advance their cause

Sat, Jan 12, 2019
Susan McKay

On the 29th of this month, Sarah Ewart will appear before the High court in Belfast to present her case that women in Northern Ireland should have access to rights enjoyed by women in all other parts of the United Kingdom.

Ewart is bracing herself – this appearance, while demanding, will be infinitely less agonising than other ordeals she has been through. Five years ago, aged 23, the Belfast woman travelled to an abortion clinic in England to terminate a much wanted pregnancy that was otherwise going to end with the birth of a baby with a foetal abnormality.

Continued: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/abortion-law-change-is-northern-ireland-really-next-1.3753579

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Bradley pressed to maintain restrictions on abortion in Northern Ireland

Bradley pressed to maintain restrictions on abortion in Northern Ireland
The Northern Ireland Secretary has received extensive and emotive correspondence about terminations since last spring.

January 1 2019

The Northern Ireland Secretary has come under pressure from people born with serious conditions to maintain restrictions on abortion.

Karen Bradley has received extensive and emotive correspondence about terminations since last spring when the Republic of Ireland voted to legalise the procedure during early pregnancy.

Continued: https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/bradley-pressed-to-maintain-restrictions-on-abortion-in-northern-ireland-37672441.html

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Northern Irish woman to challenge abortion prosecution

Northern Irish woman to challenge abortion prosecution
Mother fights decision to take her to trial on charges of supplying pills to daughter, 15

Rory Carroll Ireland correspondent
Mon 5 Nov 2018

A woman who is facing prosecution for obtaining abortion pills for her pregnant underage daughter is due to challenge the move in a potential legal landmark for Northern Ireland’s criminalisation of abortion.

The woman will appear in a Belfast court on Tuesday to seek to overturn a decision by the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland to subject her to a criminal trial and the prospect of five years in prison for supplying the pills in 2013 to her then 15-year-old daughter, who terminated the pregnancy.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/nov/05/northern-irish-woman-abortion-pills-fights-prosecution

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Abortion and same-sex marriage amendments added to Northern Ireland Bill

Abortion and same-sex marriage amendments added to Northern Ireland Bill
Plus move to appoint mediator to resolve power-sharing impasse

By Michael Shiels McNamee
October 29 2018

Amendments which would legalise abortion and same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland have been added to a Bill currently making its way through Parliament.

The Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Bill was introduced earlier this month by Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley.

Continued: https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/abortion-and-samesex-marriage-amendments-added-to-northern-ireland-bill-37470764.html j

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MPs’ vote calls for explanation of Northern Ireland abortion law

MPs' vote calls for explanation of Northern Ireland abortion law
Westminster votes by 207 to 117 to force Karen Bradley to ‘issue guidance’ on continued enforcement of law

Dan Sabbagh
Wed 24 Oct 2018

A landmark amendment forcing Northern Ireland secretary, Karen Bradley, “to issue guidance” to explain how officials can continue to enforce the region’s draconian Victorian-era abortion law was passed by MPs.

MPs in Westminster voted by 207 to 117 to impose their will, a matter normally reserved for Stormont, arguing that the abortion ban was incompatible with human rights on an amendment proposed by Labour’s Stella Creasy and Conor McGinn.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/oct/24/commons-withdraws-amendment-to-legalise-abortion-in-northern-ireland

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Labour MPs to press May for Commons vote on Northern Ireland abortion ban

Labour MPs to press May for Commons vote on Northern Ireland abortion ban
Diana Johnson to table bill aimed at forcing government into allowing proper Commons vote

Dan Sabbagh
Sun 21 Oct 2018

Labour MPs will increase the pressure to end Northern Ireland’s highly restrictive Victorian-era abortion laws this week in a series of Commons votes designed to push the UK government into action.

Diana Johnson, the Hull North MP, will introduce a backbench bill on Tuesday calling for a repeal of the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act, which criminalised any woman seeking an abortion with a theoretical maximum term of life imprisonment.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/oct/21/northern-ireland-abortion-ban-commons-vote-labour-diana-johnson

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