24/01/2019

Green Party Call For Legalised Abortion

Northern Ireland's Green Party has hit out at the Department of Health's (DoH) recent abortion statistics as "not reflective of reality" and demanded changes to the strict laws.

The 1967 Abortion Act, which established legal abortion, has never applied in the region.

Terminations are only permitted in cases where the woman's life is in danger or there is a permanent or serious risk to her mental or physical health.

Stormont's DoH said there were 12 cases of terminations in health service facilities in Northern Ireland in 2017/18, one less than the previous year.

Eight women involved were aged 30 and over, while four of those were aged 25-29.

They were carried out on women who reside in NI.

Green Party Leader Clare Bailey MLA has slammed the current laws as "draconian".

She said: "Twenty eight women travel outside of Northern Ireland to access abortion every week, on average.
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"We also know that many others use abortion pills, often bought online, to bring pregnancy to an end. These women are criminalised, they risk arrest and prosecution for accessing the reproductive healthcare afforded to others across the UK and Ireland.

"Northern Ireland abortion laws are some of the most archaic and draconian in Europe. They are not compatible with international human rights standards and aren't supported by the majority of people here.

"We must decriminalise abortion and trust women to make informed choices around their reproductive healthcare. The statistics documenting 12 abortions accessed across Northern Ireland do not reflect the reality of women accessing abortions every day."

The representative for south Belfast concluded: "Rather, the reality is that scores of women from Northern Ireland will have an abortion this week and every week. Free abortion advice, support and services are available through the British Pregnancy Advice Service (BPAS) on 03457 30 40 30."



(JG/CM)

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