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.
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.
The women’s movement in Argentina has a proud history of unity in action to fight to legalizing abortion. It was this struggle which led, eleven years ago, to a bill being drafted for parliament, which has now been debated more than seven times.
We have to maintain and increase the pressure on Westminster and our local politicians to guarantee real abortion access in Northern Ireland. This cannot wait for the sectarian parties to resolve their disagreements and catch up with ordinary people in the 21st century. We demand free, safe, legal abortion, here and now!
In just a couple of months, we could see a gargantuan victory for reproductive rights and bodily autonomy in the South with the Repeal referendum. The potential for discarding of the Eighth Amendment – which equates the existence of a foetus to the life of the women carrying it – and abortion being made available up to 12 weeks upon request is historic.
The 1967 Abortion Act was passed by Westminster half a century ago. Ann Orr looks at the context of the 1967 Act, why it was never extended to Northern Ireland (NI) and outlines how abortion rights can be won in NI.
For the first time in Ireland, a forum where members of the public were given control has recommended abortion on request in the first trimester, when 85% of abortions occur, even for socio-economic reasons. This speaks volumes about how fundamentally societal attitudes have progressed.
It’s 50 years since the 1967 Abortion Act was passed in Britain, and yet, women in Northern Ireland are still denied the right to choose. Making abortions illegal hasn’t stopped women from having them. It has simply forced them to travel abroad at great cost, risk criminalisation for accessing abortion pills or put their lives at risk with other, dangerous methods of termination.