23/07/2018

Over 170 Politicians Sign Letter To Reform Abortion Laws In NI

Over 170 politicians have signed a letter to reform abortion laws in Northern Ireland.

The group, which comprises of Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem MPs and peers, Stormont Assembly members and Irish politicians, said it is an issue of protecting women's human rights and honouring the Good Friday Agreement.

In a letter to The Sunday Times, the group urged the UK Government to repeal sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 that make it a crime for a woman to cause her own abortion in Northern Ireland.

Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw was among the people that signed the letter.
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She said: "I signed the letter because I felt the two main actions being requested are effectively calling the two governments to account on the issue of meeting commitments on human rights for women here. The first action is for the UK Prime Minister to set out an explicit legislative timetable for parliamentary scrutiny in Westminster of the Domestic Violence Bill, which includes the potential repeal of sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861. This would result in the decriminalisation of abortion across the UK.

"The second action calls for an urgent 'pathway to adequately provide for human rights - including compliant healthcare access for women in Northern Ireland'. The British and Irish government are co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement, and as such, should be doing more to getting the institutions defined under it back up and running as soon as possible. I believe the letter is a clear reminder of their responsibilities under this."

(CD/MH)

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