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 Most significantly, the law also repealed sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, clearing the way for the decriminalisation of abortion.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 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.
Northern Ireland faces decriminalization of abortion
The UK region's strict abortion law is set to change after politicians in London stepped in to legislate to end decades of discrimination against British and Irish women there. The legislation dates back to 1861.
Author Amanda Ferguson (Belfast)
Northern Ireland's abortion legislation is some of the most restrictive in the world and come from the Victorian-era of history. Pro-choice campaigners have for decades pursued legal challenges for them to be changed to respect women's human rights.
The 1967 Abortion Act in Britain, allowing for abortion up to 24 weeks in the rest of the United Kingdom, was never extended to Northern Ireland.
Stormont to be recalled after abortion petition
17 October 2019
Assembly members are set to return to the Stormont chamber for the first time in nearly three years after 31 members signed a petition triggering a recall.
The move was proposed in a last-ditch attempt to stop the reform of Northern Ireland's abortion law.
Sinn Féin supports abortions in certain circumstances and within a 'limited gestational period'
14 October, 2019
SINN Féin will tell a consultation on Northern Ireland's new abortion laws that it only supports terminations in certain circumstances and within a "limited gestational period".
Abortion will be decriminalised on October 22, provided a power-sharing assembly does not return to block the move.
Gay marriage and abortion: Why are there different laws in Northern Ireland?
July 23, 2019
The strict laws on abortion and the ban on same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland are set to change.
A bill bringing laws more in line with the rest of the UK, where access to abortion is easier and same-sex marriage is legal, has passed its final stage in Westminster.
How does Northern Ireland differ?
At the moment, same-sex marriage is not legal and access to abortion is severely restricted.
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.
Harris wants free abortions for women from Northern Ireland
Ellen Coyne, Senior Ireland Reporter
November 12 2018
The Irish government is trying to find a way to offer free abortion services to women from Northern Ireland.
Sources close to Simon Harris said the health minister was “frustrated” by legal barriers that would block the state from covering the cost of an abortion for women coming from the North once the law in the republic is changed.
Harris under pressure to ease abortion restrictions
Ellen Coyne, Senior Ireland Reporter
November 1 2018
Simon Harris has come under pressure from a prominent pro-choice TD to lift strict requirements for women who need abortions.
Kate O’Connell, the Fine Gael TD, has tabled amendments to the health minister’s abortion bill including one that would lift a requirement for women to be examined by a medical professional before they can have a termination.