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.
CAMPAIGNERS WELCOME HISTORIC DAY AS ABORTION DECRIMINALISED IN NORTHERN IRELAND
21st October 2019
For immediate release
Today is a landmark moment for reproductive rights in Northern Ireland, and for women and girls who have been living under one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. At midnight tonight, abortion will be decriminalised, and we will be one step closer to free, safe, legal and local abortion in Northern Ireland. Women and girls in Northern Ireland have been left behind for too long - and today marks a historic step in bringing this cruel injustice to an end.
In July 2019, the UK Parliament voted in favour of an amendment proposed by Stella Creasy MP and supported by pro-choice groups across the UK. Section 9 of the Northern Ireland Executive Formation Bill 2019 passed by 332-99 votes in the House of Commons and 182-37 in the House of Lords. Section 9 states that decriminalisation of abortion would take effect if no Executive was formed in Northern Ireland by October 21st.
From Ireland to Northern Ireland: campaigns for abortion law
Published: 16 June 2018
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31357-6 |
After Ireland successfully overturned its 8th Amendment using grassroots activism, attention turns to Northern Ireland's abortion laws. Angel Li reports from Dublin.
Sitting in a quiet carriage of a train to Gatwick Airport, my thoughts turned to the women taking this same route back to Ireland after travelling to the UK for abortions. I wondered if anyone was on this train for that very purpose. More than 170 000 women have travelled abroad from Ireland seeking abortions since 1980.
Having arrived at Gatwick Airport, I met two volunteers working with the London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign who were taking the same flight to Dublin as me.
Abortion campaigners target Sajid Javid over Northern Ireland
Pro-choice MPs seek to put down amendment to grant right to access terminations
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.
MPs step up pressure for Northern Ireland abortion reform
Cross-party calls for backing on plan to force May to intervene
Sat 2 Jun 2018
MPs are being canvassed to back a plan to force through measures liberalising abortion in Northern Ireland, it has emerged.
A cross-party coalition has drawn up a proposal that would force Theresa May into taking action. Some of the most senior women in the Tory party are said to be supportive of the campaign following the landslide result in Ireland’s referendum in favour of ending its near total ban on abortion.
The only Northern Irish woman with a choice about abortion? Arlene Foster
In Northern Ireland a rape victim seeking to end a pregnancy risks a longer sentence than her attacker. This has to change
Tue 29 May 2018
The jubilation at the result of the referendum on abortion in Ireland quickly gave way to rage as focus turned to Northern Ireland, where women are treated as second-class citizens when it comes to their reproductive rights.
Abortion is only legal in that part of the UK if the mother’s life is at immediate risk – as the law stands, a victim of rape who sought to end an unwanted pregnancy would risk a longer prison sentence than her attacker. Women whose babies will not live outside the womb are forced to carry them to term.
Why Ireland's emigrants are coming home to fight for safe abortion
21 May 2018
Ahead of Ireland's historic referendum on abortion, the #hometovote hashtag has unleashed a wave of solidarity and inspired Irish voters from Nairobi to Toronto to return home and campaign for a woman's right to decide.
When the Irish government finally announced there would be a referendum on repealing its near-total ban on abortion, Ause Abdelhaq, a young Irish expat living in Nairobi, Kenya, was thrilled.
No one under the age of 53 has had the chance to vote to make abortion more accessible in Ireland. The significance of what is being billed as a once-in-a-generation opportunity was clearly not lost on young Irish voters like Ause.
Why has the Government done nothing to facilitate emigrant voting?
Opinion: The few who are eligible must take time off and pay for expensive flights
May 2, 2018
David Burns, Joey Kavanagh
Tens of thousands of recent Irish emigrants could potentially legally vote during the referendum on the Eighth Amendment on Friday, May 25th. But, in an ironic turn of events, our voting system will only accommodate those with the means to travel.
As founders of the We’re Coming Back and Get the Boat to Vote campaigns, we were both involved in organising the #Hometovote movement for the Marriage Equality referendum in 2015. Despite the public outpouring of support, and the welcome back for those who “voted with their feet” as Enda Kenny put it, absolutely nothing has been done since to facilitate an emigrant vote. Why?
Irish emigrants urged #HomeToVote in abortion referendum
London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign releases video rallying citizens abroad to return for 25 May
Mon 23 Apr 2018
Irish emigrants are being urged in a new video to travel home to vote in favour of overturning the country’s constitutional ban on abortion in a referendum next month.
The London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign has released the two-minute video, filmed in six countries, to encourage Irish citizens abroad to exercise their right to vote in the historic referendum on 25 May.
#HomeToVote: Irish expats snap up flights as abortion referendum date is set
By Alice Cuddy
Irish men and women living abroad are rushing to book tickets home to vote in the country’s highly-anticipated referendum on abortion rights after the government announced on Wednesday that it will be held on May 25.
The referendum on whether to repeal a constitutional amendment from 1983 that effectively bans terminations does not allow postal votes from outside of Ireland, and requires returning voters not to have lived outside of Ireland for more than 18 months.