The decriminalisation of abortion has been won through struggle, not simply handed down by benevolent MPs. The politicians were forced into action after a light was shone on the denial of reproductive rights in the North. It was the actions of pro-choice activists that were key to making this happen.
Westminster continues to refuse to act in the face of growing pressure, particularly since the historic victory of the ‘repeal’ referendum in the South last year. Amendments and bills that have been brought on this issue have been continuously delayed.
£8,000 a year – that’s the average childcare bill in Northern Ireland. This makes it the largest outgoing cost for over one third of families in Northern Ireland.
Mass movements against sexism and oppression will inevitably come up against the logic of the capitalist system we live under, where 6 men own more wealth than 50% of the world’s population.
The archaic laws on abortion in Northern Ireland have been found to breach the European Convention on Human Rights.
International Women’s Day this year must be a massive protest, bringing together working-class people, activist groups and trade unions to win the right to choose. A united, cross-community and organised movement of women, workers and all the oppressed can not only challenge and repeal backward laws, but fight to transform society.
On 23rd November, the decriminalisation bill will have its second reading. We must mobilise to ensure that the government allots the bill time and allows it to progress to the next stage where it can become law. We must make it clear that a majority in Northern Ireland, across the community divide, support decriminalisation. The trade unions must also stand in solidarity and bring the collective power of workers to bear in this fight, and in the struggle for marriage equality.
After a landslide vote of just under 67% to repeal the constitutional abortion ban on 25th May, on 18th September, the eighth amendment was formally repealed in the South, after all appeals made seeking to the challenge the referendum result were dismissed.