UK Politics,  Your View

Extend the Abortion Act 1967 to Northern Ireland

This is a guest post by tim

In an Election year most of us are aware of abortion rights in the USA, some of us will even have a view on the how each candidates Supreme Court appointments will affect Roe vs Wade.

Most of us are familiar to a degree, through coverage of referenda or the consequence rape cases, with Irelands Abortion laws. I’ve grown up with a knowledge of Irish women travelling to the UK for abortions, and the (perhaps apocryphal) stories about women having to recalibrate their alibis for a trip overseas, once Marks and Spencers opened in Dublin. Even Nicaraguas Abortion law is fairly well known, given the prohibition act imposed by 1980s poster boy Daniel Ortega.

The recent debate on aborton time limits in the House of Commons generated hours of British media coverage and much debate on blogs and phone ins. Most people in the UK are aware of what a womans right to an abortion are, the time limit and how many doctors signatures are required .

Well maybe, or maybe not. There is one part of the UK where those rights are very different

The 1967 Abortion Act does not apply to Northern Ireland. A womans right to choose an Abortion is governed by the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act. The only defence being where the mothers life or permanent health is deemed to be at risk A woman who is raped, or the victim of incest has no right to an abortion, nor someone carrying a pregnancy where severe fetal abnormality is diagnosed, So women in NI travel to the mainland to have an Abortion. But we’ve not finished there. NHS funding, which covers terminations in the rest of the UK does not apply to a woman travelling from NI. They must find the £2,000 to fund their travel and accommodation.

A cross party group of MPs has today launched a campaign to extend the Abortion Act 1967 and NHS funding to Northern Ireland.

Please give them your support