CAMPAIGN GROUPS CONDEMN PROSECUTION OF WOMAN IN NORTHERN IRELAND FOR PROCURING ABORTION PILLS FOR HER DAUGHTER

 


27 JUNE 2019

CAMPAIGN GROUPS CONDEMN PROSECUTION OF WOMAN IN NORTHERN IRELAND FOR PROCURING ABORTION PILLS FOR HER DAUGHTER

For immediate release

It was announced on Tuesday that the trial for the prosecution of a mother who procured abortion pills for her then 15 year old daughter has been listed for hearing on November 18th.

This decision should be a cause for outrage across the UK, as a woman faces the possibility of up to 5 years in prison for accessing the same pills that are available on the NHS in the rest of the UK.

The girl had been in a physically and mentally abusive relationship when she became pregnant, and turned to her mother for help to have an abortion. But when they visited the GP for aftercare, a series of referrals led to the mother being called for interview by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) then deemed it in the ‘public interest’ to prosecute the mother under Section 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.

The case is symptomatic of the persistent injustices faced by women and girls across Northern Ireland, whose human rights are violated as a result of draconian abortion legislation - which is out of step with the rest of the UK. 

In England and Wales, the Abortion Act 1967 made abortions accessible by legalising terminations before 24 weeks in certain circumstances. Last year, the Republic of Ireland voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, removing the near total ban on abortion. But women and girls in Northern Ireland have been left behind and still live under an effective blanket ban on abortion, which the United Nations has called 'tantamount to torture' and has warned that Westminster has a ‘direct responsibility’ for.

Stormont has not sat for over two years. The Women and Equalities Committee has called for Westminster to act 'as a matter of urgency'. It is now time for Westminster to stop hiding behind devolution and to put the human rights of women and girls in Northern Ireland first.

Ends

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Hannah Little