Published: May 16, 2022
Gretchen E. Ely
If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion in the U.S., the nation may find itself on a path similar to that trod by the Irish people from 1983 to 2018. A draft decision signed by the majority of conservative justices was leaked in May 2022, and indicates the court may do just that.
Abortion was first prohibited in Ireland through what was called the Offenses Against the Person Act of 1861. That law became part of Irish law when Ireland gained independence from the U.K. in 1922. In the early 1980s, some anti-abortion Catholic activists noticed the liberalization of abortion laws in other Western democracies and worried the same might happen in Ireland.
TV: This highly watchable film chronicles the Repeal side’s winning campaign of 2018
Wed, Aug 4, 2021
The historic significance of the vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, in the referendum of 2018, was lost on nobody at the time. Three years later, The 8th (RTÉ One, Wednesday, 9.35pm) captures the sense that tectonic plates were shifting under Irish society as the electorate went to the polls to allow abortion in Ireland.
The 8th, which comes to television after a video-on-demand run earlier this year, is told largely from the perspective of the Repeal campaign, particularly that of the veteran women’s-rights advocate Ailbhe Smyth. The point she and other campaigners make over and over is that, although the vote was of course about restoring to women their bodily autonomy, the wider context was the State’s beginning a long journey of atonement for decades of institutionalised misogyny.
‘This stalemate leaves me no choice,’ UK Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis tells Belfast leaders.
by SHAWN POGATCHNIK
July 22, 2021
The British government has ordered Northern Ireland’s coalition government to introduce full-fledged abortion services, more than a year after legislation passed in Westminster required this to happen.
Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis issued the order Thursday directing the U.K. region’s Department of Health and Health Minister Robin Swann to make Northern Ireland compliant with British abortion law.
14 May 2021
The BBC drama
Three Families told the story of the fight to decriminalise abortion in
Northern Ireland from the perspectives of three women, all based on real-life
The first focused on a mother who faced criminal prosecution for purchasing
abortion pills online for her 15-year-old daughter who was in an abusive
relationship. The second followed a woman whose baby had a fatal foetal
abnormality but was still forced to carry it to term. The final woman’s baby
also had a fatal foetal abnormality. She died in the womb and the mother was
Many of the best TV dramas have been inspired by real life events.
By The Newsroom
Sunday, 9th May 2021
Later this week, BBC Two will broadcast Danny Boy, which tells the story of soldier Brian Wood, whose actions during the Iraq war were controversially called into question.
But BBC One gets in on the act early with a new two-part series (it concludes on Tuesday) originally entitled When It Happens To You, which was first announced back in 2019, just as Northern Ireland was about to make a momentous alteration to one of its laws.
May 02 2021
The writer of a new drama which focuses on abortion in Northern Ireland has said she was "amazed" to discover how many women from the region travel to England to undergo the procedure.
Gwyneth Hughes' two-part series Three Families, starring Irish actress Sinead Keenan, is set between 2013 and 2019, and tells the true story of three women and their families before the recent change to legislation.
By Suzanne McLaughlin
LAST week a 10-year-old Brazilian girl wearing a little flowery dress and cheap
flip-flops was bundled into a car boot clutching her fluffy toy frog. She was
driven through a back door to a hospital guarded by military police past a
throng of right-wing and religious extremists in order to have a termination.
Abortion is allowed in Brazil in just three instances: to save a woman’s life,
if it is the result of rape and if the child is dead. This little girl was
living through two of these circumstances. She was a victim of rape and her
life was in imminent danger and so the judge in her home area ruled that the
abortion should go ahead.
Why the fight for Irish women’s abortion rights isn’t over
Despite at-home termination methods being made available to the rest of the UK, women and girls in Northern Ireland are still being put at risk
By Brooke Theis
Apr 15, 2020
Last October, women in Northern Ireland celebrated as the country voted for their rights to have an abortion. A safe abortion, where they were no longer forced to drain their bank accounts secretly travelling over to England, or risk their lives taking illegal online pills – rights that women in the rest of the UK have had since the late Sixties.
Although laws permitting all terminations in Northern Ireland within the first 12 months of pregnancy were meant to come into effect on 31 March, the government missed this deadline. The coronavirus crisis, the lockdown and mounting pressures on health services are claimed to be the reason for the delay. Meanwhile, in the rest of the UK temporary measures have been put in place to allow women and girls to self-manage abortion at home with pills approved by the World Health Organisation.
Amid COVID-19 pandemic, a landmark week for abortion care access in Northern Ireland
April 11, 2020
Belfast — After a chaotic week that saw outcry from pro-choice campaigners and abortion providers on both sides of the Irish Sea, Northern Ireland moved to ensure abortion services will be available during the pandemic. In a statement issued to the media on Thursday, April 9, the region’s Department of Health said medical professionals were now permitted to “terminate pregnancies lawfully.” The statement also claimed that the rollout of abortion services, which were meant to have been legally available beginning March 31, had been impacted by the pandemic and “the urgent need to focus resources on preparing the health and social care system for the surge in cases.”
The government’s decision comes after a tumultuous two weeks in which abortion services were supposed to be operational yet remained inaccessible through Northern Ireland’s health service.
Abortions 'can now be carried out' in Northern Ireland
By Jayne McCormack, BBC News NI Political Reporter
9 April 2020
Medical professionals in NI can now "terminate pregnancies lawfully", the Department of Health has said.
Last month, abortion laws changed to permit terminations up to 12 weeks, but this had not been put into practice.
Some of NI's health trusts had been told by the department not to proceed with temporary plans.