Why the fight for Irish women’s abortion rights isn’t over
Despite at-home termination methods being made available to the rest of the UK, women and girls in Northern Ireland are still being put at risk
By Brooke Theis
Apr 15, 2020
Last October, women in Northern Ireland celebrated as the country voted for their rights to have an abortion. A safe abortion, where they were no longer forced to drain their bank accounts secretly travelling over to England, or risk their lives taking illegal online pills – rights that women in the rest of the UK have had since the late Sixties.
Although laws permitting all terminations in Northern Ireland within the first 12 months of pregnancy were meant to come into effect on 31 March, the government missed this deadline. The coronavirus crisis, the lockdown and mounting pressures on health services are claimed to be the reason for the delay. Meanwhile, in the rest of the UK temporary measures have been put in place to allow women and girls to self-manage abortion at home with pills approved by the World Health Organisation.
Abortion: New laws need full discussion says Arlene Foster
By Jayne McCormack, BBC News NI Political Reporter
6 April 2020
The Stormont executive will have a "full discussion" about how abortion services should be provided in NI, First Minister Arlene Foster has said.
Major changes to NI's abortion laws came into force at the end of March.
However, the Department of Health has yet to put the regulations into practice.
New abortion laws for Northern Ireland comes into force
The new regulations will allow terminations in Northern Ireland for the first 12 weeks
By Shaun Keenan
31 MAR 2020
Newly published regulations on abortion services in Northern Ireland will come into force on Tuesday. MPs in Westminster passed the changes to abortion last year in the absence of a power sharing assembly at Stormont.
The new regulations will allow terminations in Northern Ireland on request for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and up to 24 weeks in cases of a risk of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or girl.
Efforts to bring abortion to North ‘insidious,’ says Foster
DUP leader says renewed effort to bring in same sex marriage likely to succeed
July 21, 2019
Efforts to bring in abortion legislation through the Northern Ireland Bill currently making its way through Westminster were “insidious”, the DUP leader Arlene Foster said on Sunday.
Under the Bill, same sex marriage and a more liberal abortion regime would be introduced to Northern Ireland unless the Northern Executive and Assembly, which has been suspended for more than two-and-a-half years, was restored by October 21st this year.
Stella Creasy’s abortion law campaign showed practical politics at its best
Courteous, attentive and largely free of partisan posturing, the debate on Northern Ireland’s law was a triumph of cross-party collaboration
Sun 10 Jun 2018
The most striking moment in politics last week was not David Davis’s fifth (unfulfilled) threat to resign. Nor was it Boris Johnson’s latest (unpunished) violation of collective responsibility. It wasn’t even the spectacle of hours of intense cabinet psychodrama finally resulting in a customs proposal that was instantly shot down by the EU’s chief negotiator. In Brexitland, a lot happens – but very little changes.
No, the week’s most interesting political event came late on Monday, when the Speaker, John Bercow, asked if he had “the leave of the House” to grant Labour backbencher Stella Creasy an emergency debate on Northern Irish abortion law. In silence, the vast majority of the MPs present in the Commons stood up – and the debate was granted. Supporters of the motion included the new minister for women, Penny Mordaunt, and Karen Bradley, the secretary of state for Northern Ireland.
Government under pressure over ‘incompatible’ Northern Ireland abortion law
Pro-choice campaigners demand action after Supreme Court judges say ban on terminations needs ‘radical reconsideration’.
June 7 2018
The Government is facing mounting pressure to reform abortion laws in Northern Ireland after Supreme Court judges said they were incompatible with human rights legislation.
Pro-choice campaigners demanded action after a majority of Supreme Court judges said the ban on terminations in cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormality needed “radical reconsideration”.
Northern Ireland abortion law clashes with human rights, judges say
Supreme court dismisses bid to overturn law but adds to pressure on politicians to act
Owen Bowcott Legal affairs correspondent
Thu 7 Jun 2018
Pressure is growing on the government to reform Northern Ireland’s restrictive abortion laws after the supreme court concluded that they are incompatible with human rights legislation.
Justices at the UK’s highest court dismissed a legal challenge by a narrow majority of four to three and said they had no jurisdiction to consider the latest case because there was no actual or potential victim of an unlawful act involved in it.
NI abortion law should be changed at Stormont, Sinn Féin says
Michelle O’Neill open to Intergovernmental Conference tackling issue in absence of powersharing
June 5, 2018
Amanda Ferguson Belfast
Legislative change on abortion in Northern Ireland should be brought about by the Stormont Assembly or through the British and Irish Intergovernmental Conference, Sinn Fén vice president Michelle O’Neill has said.
She was speaking after a three-hour debate in the House of Commons on a proposal to repeal two sections of the 1861 Offences against the Person Act (OAPA) which criminalise abortion in the North.
UK government calls for Northern Ireland to consider abortion reforms
Tuesday, 5 Jun 2018
Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley has said she personally backs abortion reform but the Northern Assembly must be restored to consider the issue to avoid disenfranchising 1.8 million people in the UK.
She confirmed that if abortion came before the House of Commons in London, a free vote would take place, as it is a "matter of conscience".
McDonald says abortion law in NI should be ‘in kilter’ with Republic
Sinn Féin launches party campaign in favour of repeal ahead of the May ‘date with destiny’
April 20, 2018
Sinn Féin will seek to harmonise abortion laws across the country if the Eighth Amendment is removed from the Constitution.
Abortion is banned in almost all circumstances in Northern Ireland, while in the Republic it is permitted only when a mother’s life is at risk.