On this morning’s Today programme, Tory MP Owen Paterson said that as part of its coalition agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party, the May government will introduce a bill to reduce the term limit on abortions.
Not only is this government willing to openly violate the Good Friday agreement (which requires the Westminster government to be a neutral arbitrator in Northern Ireland), but it’s also perfectly happy to use women’s bodies as a bargaining chip for its own clutching on to power.
June 22 2016 - A group of pro-choice activists used a drone to deliver abortion pills to Northern Ireland this week.
Two women took the abortion pills that were delivered. The drone took off from Omeath, Ireland, near the border of Northern Ireland, and landed on the other side of the border.
It was carrying the drugs Mifepristone and Misoprostol, which can be used up to nine weeks into a pregnancy. Nearly all forms of abortion are illegal in Northern Ireland, with offenders facing a maximum sentence of life in prison. This year, a 21-year-old woman was given a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to purchasing abortion pills online because she couldn’t afford to travel to England to have the procedure.
The organizations behind this week’s stunt said they carried it out as an “act of solidarity” with women in Northern Ireland who are facing prosecution for having an abortion, and as a demonstration that the country’s laws can be easily circumvented with pills ordered online . “Restrictive abortion laws will not keep women from accessing abortion pills, by ship, by mail, through the internet, drone or RC speedboat,” said Dr. Rebecca Gomperts of Women on Waves, one of the rights groups that organized the drone flight. Women on Waves staged a similar stunt last year, using a drone to deliver abortion pills to Poland. [video]/[article]
A 21-year old woman in Northern Ireland has been handed down a three month suspended sentence for inducing her own abortion through abortion pills that she purchased online. She was reported to the police by her housemates. Abortion in almost all cases is illegal in Northern Ireland and can lead to extremely harsh criminal sentencing. In the wake of this case it is important to take a look at the draconian attitudes and legislation that exist in Northern Ireland in relation to abortion. They are outdated. There is at least one other current court case where a woman may be facing jail time for procuring/supplying abortion pills (which are illegal in the North) for her daughter. And with an open letter with approximately 200 signatures admitting to helping other women procure abortion pills in Northern Ireland, it is clear that these laws are unworkable, unrealistic and illogical. Every woman should have the right to choose, and it’s up to us to reduce the stigma so that women can make their own decisions without judgement, unwarranted criticism and criminal convictions.
Alliance for Choice and assorted pro-choice activists gathered at Musgrave Police Station in Belfast today to protest the charges being brought against a woman in Belfast who provided her daughter with early medical abortion pills.
Due to the restrictive laws in Northern Ireland pertaining to abortion, many women regularly procure pills from groups like Women on Web to allow individuals the opportunity to choose whether or not they want to take a pregnancy to term. We feel it is unjust and outrageous that the criminal justice is making an example of this woman. Alliance for Choice activist Fionnghuala Nic Roibeaird puts it plainly, “If you prosecute one of us, prosecute us all; we are not going
anywhere, we will continue to defy anything that limits our freedom, we
dare you to come after us”.
We will stand in solidarity with this woman and fight for the charges against her to be dropped and continue to fight for legislation that will provide safe abortions for any woman who is pregnant and does not want to be.