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.
News Image
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)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

10 April 2019
DUP Slam 'Humiliating' UK Govt Brexit Approach
Deputy leader of the Democratic Unionists Nigel Dodds has branded the current Brexit talks a "humiliating and embarrassing" time for the United Kingdom. Nigel Dodds, who leads the party in Westminster, said the Prime Minister's current talks with the French and German leaders are equal to "holding out a begging bowl" to the EU.
05 April 2019
UK Requests Further Brexit Delay
Prime Minister Theresa May has written to European Union officials to request a further Brexit delay until 30 June. The date for the UK's departure currently stands just one week away, Friday 12 April, with no withdrawal agreement in place as yet.
09 August 2018
NI Women To Access Abortion Services In Ireland
The Irish Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has made a commitment to allow Northern Irish women to access abortion services in Ireland. Minister Harris made the commitment during his appearance at Feile an Phobail in Belfast. Abortion was legalised in Britain in 1967, but remains illegal in Northern Ireland.
05 April 2004
Human Rights Commission welcomes sign language recognition
The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission today welcomed last week's announcement that the Government has formally recognised British and Irish Sign Languages as minority languages in Northern Ireland.
07 July 2003
Courts turn down request for clarity on abortion
A request by the Family Planning Association (FPA) for clarification on abortion law in Northern Ireland has been turned down by the courts.