Reproductive rights

Women’s groups call for decriminalizing abortion in Northern Ireland

(Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Women’s health organizations in Northern Ireland have thrown their support behind a proposition to decriminalize abortion amid the increasing frequency of women in the country facing jail for inducing abortions themselves after buying medicine to do so online. The groups are fighting an 1861 law, the Offenses Against the Person Act, which threatens some of the harshest punishments for abortion in Europe, according to a statement from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, which is leading the campaign to have the law repealed.

At least two women in Northern Ireland are facing jail after buying abortion-inducing medicine online, according to the report. Current law in the country dictates that two doctors must approve an abortion before a woman can have one, but the BPAS says that the increasing availability of online abortion medication will mean that many more women will face prison in the near future.

“It is high time we recognized this by taking abortion out of the criminal law, and making clear that we trust women to make their own decisions about their own lives and bodies,” Ann Furedi, BPAS chief executive, said.

Read the full story at The Huffington Post.

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