How did Northern Ireland lawmakers carve out an anti-abortion ‘ghetto’ within the UK?

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How did Northern Ireland lawmakers carve out an anti-abortion ‘ghetto’ within the UK?
Northern Ireland remains a blind spot for equality for women and members of the LGBTIQ community. Will Ireland’s abortion referendum change this?

Stephanie Williamson
11 June 2018

More than two weeks have passed since Ireland’s historic abortion referendum was won by a groundswell of grassroots feminist activism. A large majority (66.4%) voted to repeal the country’s eighth constitutional amendment, opening the door to proposed legislation to allow abortions up to 12 weeks.

Huge numbers of repeal campaigners and voters were young women – with a staggering 94% increase in the turnout of women aged 18-24, compared to the 2016 general election. The result reflected a frank rejection of decades of misogyny and the suffocating grip of church and state on women’s rights.

Continued: https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/stephanie-williamson/northern-ireland-anti-abortion-ghetto-uk

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Abortion campaigners target Sajid Javid over Northern Ireland

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Abortion campaigners target Sajid Javid over Northern Ireland
Pro-choice MPs seek to put down amendment to grant right to access terminations

Rajeev Syal
Mon 11 Jun 2018

Sajid Javid will come under pressure from a crossbench group of MPs to bring forward a bill that would allow reformers to decriminalise abortion in Northern Ireland.

More than 30 MPs have pledged to send the home secretary written questions on Monday demanding the domestic abuse bill be brought before parliament by the autumn. This would allow pro-choice MPs to put down an amendment that would give women in Northern Ireland the right to access terminations.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/11/abortion-campaigners-target-sajid-javid-over-northern-ireland

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UK – Stella Creasy’s abortion law campaign showed practical politics at its best

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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

Helen Lewis
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.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/10/stella-creasy-abortion-law-campaign-practical-politics-at-its-best

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The Guardian view on Northern Ireland and abortion: the mounting demand for change

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The Guardian view on Northern Ireland and abortion: the mounting demand for change
Editorial
A judgment from the UK’s supreme court adds to the already overwhelming case for reforming oppressive laws

Thu 7 Jun 2018

The moral case for the reform of Northern Ireland’s harsh abortion laws, which forbid terminations even in the case of rape or fatal foetal abnormalities, has long been clear. But the sweeping victory for reform in the Irish abortion referendum last month made it starker than ever. The logical case is obvious: the restrictions do not prevent but displace abortions, with women travelling across the Irish Sea to end their pregnancies. The political case is equally evident: poll after poll has shown that voters in Northern Ireland believe the law must change. Now the supreme court has laid out the legal case.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/07/the-guardian-view-on-northern-ireland-and-abortion-the-mounting-demand-for-change

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U.K. Court Dismisses Challenge to Northern Ireland Abortion Law

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U.K. Court Dismisses Challenge to Northern Ireland Abortion Law

By Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura and Richard Pérez-Peña
June 7, 2018

LONDON — Britain’s Supreme Court on Thursday struck down an attempt to overturn Northern Ireland’s restrictive laws on abortion over a legal technicality, barely two weeks after Ireland voted in a landslide to do away with similar rules.

But in an important caveat, Justice Brenda M. Hale, president of the court, said that a majority of the justices “are of the firm and clear opinion that the current law is incompatible with” the European Convention on Human Rights, to which Britain is a party.

Continued; https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/07/world/europe/uk-northern-ireland-abortion.html

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The Supreme Court says women’s human rights are being breached in Northern Ireland – if Theresa May doesn’t act, her legacy will be in tatters

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The Supreme Court says women’s human rights are being breached in Northern Ireland – if Theresa May doesn’t act, her legacy will be in tatters
As the Labour MP Stella Creasy stated, 'is the government really going to force a rape victim to come and give evidence in open court to change the law?'

Katie Goh
June 7, 2018

This morning, the UK’s Supreme Court dismissed the Northern Irish Human Rights Commission (NIHRC)’s appeal to overturn Northern Ireland’s strict abortion laws. While the Supreme Court judges agreed that Northern Ireland’s laws are incompatible with human rights in the cases of rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormality, the appeal was rejected due to a technicality. By the narrow majority of four to three judges, the Court ruled that they had no jurisdiction because there was no actual or potential victim of an unlawful act involved in the case.

Continued: https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/northern-ireland-abortion-law-supreme-court-human-rights-theresa-may-a8387506.html

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Ireland – Emotional abortion debate draws gasps in House of Commons

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Emotional abortion debate draws gasps in House of Commons
DUP hardline reinforced with claim abortion sometimes used as form of contraception

June 6, 2018
Denis Staunton

Sammy Wilson could not have known that he would be called to speak immediately after Conservative MP Heidi Allen had brought a hush to the House of Commons when she spoke of her own experience of abortion.

“Because I have been there, I am making it my business,” she said about the call to extend abortion rights to Northern Ireland.

Continued: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/emotional-abortion-debate-draws-gasps-in-house-of-commons-1.3520499

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NI abortion law should be changed at Stormont, Sinn Féin says

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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.

Continued: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/abortion-referendum/ni-abortion-law-should-be-changed-at-stormont-sinn-f%C3%A9in-says-1.3520468

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UK government calls for Northern Ireland to consider abortion reforms

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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".

Continued: https://www.rte.ie/news/uk/2018/0605/968195-oapa/

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UK – MPs emergency debate on abortion in Northern Ireland – ‘inappropriate’ for Westminster to intervene, says Karen Bradley

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Live updates: MPs emergency debate on abortion in Northern Ireland - 'inappropriate' for Westminster to intervene, says Karen Bradley

June 5 2018

MPs are debating repealing sections of a 150-year-old law that criminalises abortion.

The emergency debate will discuss repealing parts of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 on Tuesday following an application from Labour MP Stella Creasy.

It follows last month's landslide vote in Ireland to liberalise its termination laws.

Continued https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/live-updates-mps-emergency-debate-on-abortion-in-northern-ireland-inappropriate-for-westminster-to-intervene-says-karen-bradley-36979241.html

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