Thu, 8 December 2022
Lawmakers in Northern Ireland can now create buffer zones around abortion clinics, following a ruling from the UK's Supreme Court. The decision means that Northern Ireland is the first part of the UK to bring in legislation on abortion clinic buffer zones – although this was rolled out on a local council level in England and Wales earlier this year.
The Supreme Court's unanimous decision allows the Northern Ireland assembly to proceed with introducing safe access zones to protect abortion clinic users and staff. The move is part of the Assembly's new Abortion Services Bill, which will criminalise those who enter abortion clinic buffer zones with the intention of influencing attendees.
Campaigners and the Catholic Church have given their reactions after the UK government instructed the NI Department of Health to move ahead with providing abortion services in all Trusts across the north of Ireland.
By Brendan McDaid
Dec 5, 2022
The Department of Health said it “acknowledges the legal requirements placed on it by the Secretary of State and has been working closely with the Northern Ireland Office on the planned commissioning of abortion services in Northern Ireland.”
The legal instruction on commissioning and the ring fencing of funding will mean that HSC Trusts will have the “necessary resources to ensure a full range of abortion services will be available in NI, including putting in place the necessary staffing and training required” the statement issued said.
BY KRISTEN CHICK/BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND
JUNE 30, 2022
When Katie Boyd decided to have an abortion in November, she thought the process would be smooth. She had celebrated when abortion was decriminalized in Northern Ireland two years earlier, in October 2019, and two years on, it seemed logical that abortion care would now be readily available.
Boyd, 40, called a hotline intended to connect those seeking abortion with care, and was told she’d receive a call within five days from a clinic that could provide an early medication abortion. But five days went by with no call. Her follow-up calls begging for direct contact information for the clinic got her nowhere. As the days turned into weeks, Boyd began to panic.
In Scotland and Northern Ireland, access to second-trimester abortions still depends on a damaging postcode lottery
Wed 22 Jun 2022
When a draft supreme court decision was leaked in May showing that judges intended to overturn Roe v Wade, many in the UK reacted with outrage. Rightly so: such a law change would leave abortion rules up to individual states. Rights groups estimate that abortion could become illegal in about half the states if this is successful. Americans would be forced to travel to states where it was still legal, or order costly abortion medicine online, risking severe legal consequences by doing so. Overturning Roe v Wade would probably also inspire anti-choice campaign groups to pursue legal action elsewhere in the world.
Constance Kampfner, The Times
Saturday February 19 2022
An anti-abortion charity has been accused of masquerading as a pregnancy support centre in an attempt to pressure women into backing out of having terminations.
Stanton International, an American organisation which has been accused of peddling falsehoods about termination including the claim that it causes cancer, is due to open a branch in Edinburgh.
Questions have been raised about why the local service collapsed when an Ulster University report shows that medical professionals are willing to provide the service
21 Jun 2021
The Department of Health had said efforts are being made to reinstate an abortion service at Altnagelvin Hospital but it does not know how long it will take.
The Western Trust decided to suspend its Early Medical Abortion Service (EMA) in April ‘until further notice’.
Consistent vetoes have blocked the power-sharing government from passing abortion reform in Northern Ireland.
By Julia Canney
Jun 18, 2021
In April, the UK House of Commons formally approved a new directive requiring Northern Ireland’s Department of Health to take “concrete steps” to ensure full abortion services in the north before summer. The directive, which came after years of pressure from inside and outside the north, is the result of the Northern Ireland executive’s delay in commissioning services that were formally decriminalized in 2019.
It is time for Northern Ireland’s secretary of state, Brandon Lewis, to ensure that reproductive rights in the north are safe, legal and accessible to all who need them. The complicated politics of Northern Ireland have led to this dilemma of jurisdiction. The House of Commons was able to decriminalize abortion services in the north specifically because there was no sitting Northern Ireland executive in Stormont. However, now that there has been a sitting government in Stormont for over a year, many are calling for an end to the executive’s stall tactics.
Emma Campbell describes the long fight for reproductive rights in Northern Ireland
March 24, 2021
Northern Ireland has finally emerged from the shadow of a British law that wreaked untold misery on the island of Ireland. On 22 October 2019, tired but buoyed, we celebrated that people were no longer at risk of being charged with a criminal offence for accessing an abortion. After a long struggle, the women of Northern Ireland now have the best abortion law in the UK and Ireland.
Sections 58 and 59 of the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act criminalised doctors and abortion seekers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland with punishment up to ‘penal servitude for life’. This remained in place until the 1967 Abortion Act allowed abortion to carried out legally in certain circumstances, even if it wasn’t fully decriminalised.
A human rights group says the government’s inaction has left a health care void in a country where the procedure was legalized in 2019, but remains largely unavailable.
By Megan Specia
Jan. 11, 2021
A human rights group in Northern Ireland is taking legal action against the government over its failure to provide abortion access, the group announced on Monday, highlighting the continuing struggle for safe abortions more than a year after the procedure was legalized in the region.
The organization, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, cited deep concerns about a lack of abortion services, which it says has left a health care void for many women and girls.
By Miriam Berger
September 26, 2020
Argentina’s president was expected to propose a landmark law to decriminalize abortion, setting a new standard for Latin America. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit. The release date was delayed, indefinitely.
Ruth Zurbriggen, a reproductive rights activist with the group Socorristas en Red, felt “pain and rage.” But the group’s work continued — efforts, she said, made even more pressing as the pandemic took center stage.