Letter: It is time to update Northern Ireland’s Abortion Laws

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Poster protesting Northern Ireland’s abortion laws. Photo Source: Huckmag.com

Lauran Kilmartin, Contributor. 

After seeking help for her daughter, a mother was forced to appear in court because of Northern Ireland’s outdated and inhumane laws related to abortion services. She potentially faces a criminal trial under the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act, for trying to provide what should be basic healthcare for her daughter trapped in an abusive relationship.

Challenging the Public Prosecution Service’s judgement against her is brave, ground-breaking and difficult.

Women should not be treated as criminals for trying to access healthcare, nor should the people who help them. Northern Ireland’s current laws force people to undergo unnecessary hardship, stress, indignity, and expense when trying to access these basic services and compounds the difficulty of the situation they find themselves in.

A decision to have an abortion is never taken lightly and if faced with that difficulty people should be able to access counselling and support services without fear or judgement. That is all this woman wanted for her daughter – safety and support.

We, those of us who believe in the human rights of pregnant people and the right to bodily autonomy, stand with you.

We support you.

It is time for Northern Ireland’s outdated laws to be brought in line with those of Ireland and the UK. It is time for things to change. Now for NI.

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