After reading the recent article by BBC News ‘NI woman charged over abortion pills’, we are frustrated by the misleading that continues to be spread by mainstream media about abortions and the methods used. The article states that ‘the drugs cause blood loss’ and that the ‘risk’ of heavy bleeding is ‘of particular concern’, ignoring the fact that it is not a risk nor side effect but the actual termination of pregnancy. This heavy bleeding must occur in order for the abortion to complete and to refer to it as an adverse risk only serves to perpetuate the scaremongering of anti-choice groups who continuously lie about the abortion procedure in an attempt to further their own agenda. False information not only stigmatises the procedure further but also helps maintain the barrier of access to information and support that people continue to face. Medical abortions are safer than childbirth and equally as safe as a natural miscarriage, and in the UK 99.8% of all abortions do not require a stay in hospital. Medical abortion pills are one of several methods of abortion recommended on the WHO Essential Medicines List.
Chair of Abortion Rights, Kerry Abel said:
‘Articles with pseudoscience about this issue are not helpful, we should be supporting the thousands of real women who have abortions in Northern Ireland instead.’
We give solidarity to those who face criminalisation in Northern Ireland for their use of abortion pills, an extremely safe practice that they are driven to undertake themselves due to the restrictive abortion laws in Northern Ireland. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) has repeatedly criticised the British government for not providing abortion rights for women in NI, this committee again called on the British government to work towards a clear abortion law for NI and to “remove punitive provisions imposed on women who undergo abortions”. We look forward to the day when Northern Irish women are given the same right as the rest of women in the UK, to have access to free, safe, and legal abortions.
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (bpas) this year launched a free telephone aftercare helpline for women in Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the Isle of Man who have bought abortion medication online.
Aftercare helpline numbers (NOT FOR PRESS ENQUIRIES)
From Ireland: 1800 910 049
From Northern Ireland: 0800 077 6049
From the Isle of Man: 0800 077 6049