Is It 2016 Or 1861? Northern Ireland Is Holding On To An Outdated Anti-Abortion Law

by Becky Brown

The war on women continues. Following the prosecution of a 21 year-old woman who miscarried, Northern Ireland is holding onto a 155 year-old anti-abortion law that targets working class women. Many women in Northern Ireland can’t afford to travel where abortion is legal and, as a result, induce their own miscarriages by purchasing abortion pills over the Internet. Women who seek hospital care for miscarriages may be questioned about whether or not they have taken abortion pills, and may face prosecution.  Awesome!

At the Biennial Delegates conference in Derry on Wednesday, April 13th, Taryn Trainor, Regional Equality Officer for Unite, Northern Ireland’s largest trade union, asked the NIC ICTU (Northern Ireland Committee Irish Congress of Trade Unions) to oppose this extremely outdated law and the criminalization of women seeking abortions.

“It’s not acceptable that women are being criminalized for making choices about when they want to have children. It’s not acceptable that it is legal to access abortion and purchase abortion pills in the rest of the UK but it is unlawful here in Northern Ireland,” says Trainer.

While it’s hard to believe that we live in a world where women are actually being criminalized for miscarrying, Northern Ireland is holding onto a law that completely strips women of their bodily rights.   

Trainor asks, “Is it the case now that women are going to have to justify miscarriages in case anyone suspects they took abortion pills?”

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