On the news that the Supreme Court has ruled that the UK government is breaching the human rights of women in Northern Ireland.
Kerry Abel, Abortion Rights Chair said:
‘It’s clear now that the government must repeal the the sections of Offences Against the Person’s Act (1861) – 58 and 59 that criminalise those that try to take control of their own body and their healthcare in line with the Supreme Court ruling.
‘It is not acceptable to add insult to injury forcing rape victims to give evidence of the cruelty of this policy in court.
‘Abortion Rights welcome the call for an urgent question to ministers on this issue today.’
Notes to Editors
Media contact for comment and interviews: Kerry Abel, National Chair, Abortion Rights (07979 535242)
- Abortion is illegal in almost all circumstances in Northern Ireland. Punishment is up to life in prison, there is no exception for rape or fatal foetal abnormality in the jurisdiction.
- Women In Northern Ireland bear the burden of the barriers imposed by the State when they seek to access abortion services. Abortion Rights seeks to highlight this, and to lobby governments in Westminster, Dublin and Stormont to change the law and support women’s rights.
- All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Population, Development and Reproductive Health recommended that coalitions must be built to decriminalise abortion in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland recommendation number 3, Who Decides? We Trust Women: Abortion in the developing world and the UK, March 2018: http://www.appg-popdevrh.org.uk/APPG%202018%20AW.PDF
- In February 2018, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), published a report that states the UK is complicit in violating women’s human rights: UK violates women’s rights in Northern Ireland by unduly restricting access to abortion – UN experts http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22693&LangID=E
- A 2016 Amnesty International poll shows that nearly ¾ of Northern Irish public want to liberalise the abortion law: https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/northern-ireland-nearly-34-public-support-abortion-law-change-new-poll-0
- In April 2018, Belfast Council passed a motion in favour of decriminalising abortion:
- About Abortion Rights:
- Abortion Rights is the national pro-choice campaign which seeks to defend and extend women’s rights and access to safe, legal abortion. We work closely with the parliamentary All Party Pro-choice and Sexual Health group and the Voice for Choice coalition of sexual health and education organisations.