Northern Ireland’s new abortion guidelines are welcome but should have gone further
Posted: Fri, 27 Mar 2020
by Dr Antony Lempert
As the government publishes a framework for the extension of abortion rights in NI, Dr Antony Lempert welcomes politicians' belated willingness to defend women's right to choose but laments several missed opportunities.
On 23 February 2018 the UN committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) issued a damning verdict on the state of abortion in Northern Ireland. It concluded that women were subject to violence by virtue of the fact that nearly every woman or child who became pregnant had to carry the pregnancy to term. This was the case even where there was evidence that the foetus would not be viable and even in cases of incest or rape.
Another US anti-abortion extremist sticks his nose into UK’s affairs
March 19, 2020
by Barry Duke
FOLLOWING our March 15 report that Roger Kiska, above, of Alliance Defending Freedom, was voicing his anger over an exclusion area outside a London abortion clinic, comes news that another American – ‘pro-life’ congressman Chris Smith, above – is demanding that the British government reverse its decision to impose UK abortion laws on Northern Ireland.
According to far-right Christian website LifeSiteNews, Smith has written to the UK Secretary of State for N Ireland calling on him to refer the province’s abortion laws back to the region’s own devolved government. In a letter co-signed by fellow members of Congress Andy Harris, Ann Wagner and Vicky Hartzler, Smith wrote:
DUP calls for abortion reform to be dealt with at Northern Ireland Assembly
March 18 2020
The DUP has called for the reform of abortion legislation to be dealt with by the Northern Ireland Assembly. Last year, the Westminster parliament introduced new abortion laws in Northern Ireland because of the failure of MLAs to restore power sharing by an October deadline.
At Northern Ireland questions on Wednesday in the Commons, Labour MP Dame Diana Johnson asked for an assessment of the effect of the collapse of Flybe on the ability of women in Northern Ireland to access abortion services in England.
911 doctors, nurses sign letter refusing to cooperate with new abortion law in Northern Ireland
By Louise Bevan
Nov 9, 2019
Since Northern Ireland formally legalized abortion, there has been a backlash from a faction of medical professionals who say they will not assist in the procedure.
Citing a violation of their Catholic beliefs, a number of doctors and nurses have signed a letter of opposition to the Northern Irish Secretary of State Julian Smith and the Secretary for the Department of Health Richard Pengelly.
How We Won the Right to Choose
By Maev McDaid and Brian Christopher
Coming hot on the heels of Dublin’s repeal of anti-abortion laws, decriminalization in the North is a decisive victory for Irish feminists. The church and the state are losing their control over our bodies — but we still need to make abortion legal, safe, and free.
October 22 marked a decisive victory in the North of Ireland, as abortion was finally decriminalized. This news will surely have passed many people by — after all, in national as in international media, the North is almost only ever “represented” by the bigots in the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). But last week, this stridently anti-choice party was finally overruled by the Westminster parliament. Its move to decriminalize abortion in the North came fifty years after a similar step was taken on the British mainland. Yet this success especially owes to decades of heroic struggles waged by Irish feminists.
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.
'I’m not a criminal any longer’: Women's relief as abortion law changes in Northern Ireland
By Lauren Chadwick & Orlando Crowcroft
As Northern Ireland decriminalised abortion on Monday at midnight, pro-choice campaigners marked a new era of openness and freedom in the British province.
Until this week, Northern Ireland had prohibited abortion in all cases except when a mother’s life was at risk, with women and doctors facing sentences up to life in prison under an 1861 law.
Mum who bought abortion pills for daughter acquitted after landmark law reform
Wednesday 23 Oct 2019
A mother who has faced prosecution for six years for buying online abortion pills for her teenage daughter has been formally acquitted after landmark reform in Northern Ireland.
A judge directed a jury at Belfast Crown Court today to find the woman not guilty. The mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been facing two counts of procuring and supplying the abortion drugs with the intent to procure a miscarriage, contrary to the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act.
Woman in Northern Ireland abortion pills case formally acquitted
Judge instructs jury to find woman not guilty after legal changes come into force
Rory Carroll, Ireland correspondent
Wed 23 Oct 2019
A court in Northern Ireland has acquitted a woman who was prosecuted for buying online abortion pills for her daughter, after the decriminalisation of abortion in the region.
The judge, David McFarland, directed a jury at Belfast crown court on Wednesday to find the woman not guilty a day after Northern Ireland’s Victorian-era abortion laws were liberalised. The prosecution offered no evidence.
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.