Over three-quarters of MPs in the House of Commons have voted to extend abortion rights and equal marriage here via amendments to the Northern Ireland Bill. If made into law, the amendments would remove the North from the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act, decriminalising abortion, in the event that Stormont does not resume by 22 October.
Tag: Abortion Rights
The archaic laws on abortion in Northern Ireland have been found to breach the European Convention on Human Rights.
Pro-choice activists and trade unionists must organise for the biggest possible mobilisation of people on the streets ahead of any vote on decriminalisation. We must seek solidarity from the labour movement in Britain. Politicians should be left in no doubt that, if our rights continue to be denied, they will face a campaign of civil disobedience that will make the law unworkable. The Socialist Party supports full decriminalisation of abortion but we must go further to ensure abortions are free, safe, legal and accessible here in Northern Ireland on the NHS.
25th May was a momentous and historic day – two thirds of voters in the South voted to repeal the anti-choice eighth amendment from the constitution, demanding the right of women and pregnant people to access abortion services. Unsurprisingly, it was women, young and LGBT+ people and working-class communities that were to the fore in this revolt. The result was a body blow to the Catholic Church’s domination of Irish society which, in living memory, led to such horrors as the imprisonment of women in Magdalene laundries and state-sanctioned abduction of children from unmarried mothers.
On 25 May, Irish citizens voted decisively to repeal the 8th Amendment, a resounding rejection of the abortion ban and misogynistic ideas about women and our bodies. The Yes vote won a landslide 66% and in all but one county. The significance of this victory over decades of anti-choice misogyny and repressive Church control cannot be understated.
No delay can now be justified. There is nothing to stop the Dail [Irish parliament] to move quickly to enact legislation to give effect to the proposals from the Oireachtas Committee. No more people should suffer.
If a movement is built on clear, cross-community basis, all the political parties and Westminster can come under pressure to act on this issue and the right to choose can be won.
None of the main parties support a woman’s right to choose. The DUP and SDLP are entirely opposed to any reform, as are the majority of UUP MLAs. Sinn Féin and most Alliance MLAs oppose abortion rights outside the narrow circumstances of sexual crime and fatal foetal abnormality.