Abortion Remains Illegal in Northern Ireland
Women in Northern Ireland, although they are British citizens, cannot get an abortion. A mother has recently been on trial for obtaining abortion pills for her daughter. In Belfast, a woman who bought abortion drugs online has received a suspended sentence. Women who abort still face criminal charges and a possible prison sentence in Northern Ireland.
While in England, Scotland and Wales abortion can be carried out legally up to the 24th week of pregnancy, this law has never been enacted in Northern Ireland. There, abortion is only legal if a woman’s health is at risk, but not if they are raped or the foetus shows mental or physical irregularities.
In the past Northern Irish women have been travelling to other parts of the U.K. in order to get an abortion. However, this can be expensive because the British National Health Service does not pay for Northern Irish residents. Poor women who can’t afford to pay up to $3000 buy abortion pills on the internet.
In 2015, a high court judge in Northern Ireland ruled that abortion laws in the province are a violation of human rights. But, at the moment, politicians are unwilling to change the law. All across the UK pro-choice protesters have been demonstrating for equal rights for all British women.
Recent polls suggest that two-thirds of the voters in Northern Ireland support abortion, at least in certain cases.
Religion’s influence in Northern Ireland is higher than in the rest of Britain, which may be why many people have very conservative thoughts about abortion