Pro-choice campaigners take abortion pills in Northern Ireland

Geraldine Edwards
June 3, 2018

Pro-choice campaigners have taken illegal abortion pills outside Northern Ireland's main court buildings in defiance of strict termination laws.

Women on Waves founder Rebecca Gomperts said police had removed the robots, which were controlled from the Netherlands to show that the pills could be delivered to women in Northern Ireland seeking abortion without breaking the law.

"But they understood that even though they might not have an abortion themselves, that civil law should reflect the rest of society and that people who need abortions should be able to get them freely, safely and legally".

"I have taken this in defiance of the extremely outdated, medieval, anti-choice laws that exist in Northern Ireland", said Eleanor Crossey Malone, from socialist feminist movement Rosa, in front of television cameras.

Now the influential Labour Party Irish Society has come out against a referendum, stating that such a move would be "divisive" and "simply further delay women's rights in Northern Ireland".

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"We are not willing to accept it anymore".

Earlier, pro-choice campaigners addressed the crowd, among them Irish parliamentarian Ruth Coppinger TD.

Taking an abortion pill is illegal in Northern Ireland if the intent is to cause a miscarriage.

The appeal judges said the law in Northern Ireland should be left to the Stormont Assembly and not judges, saying that the complex moral and religious questions behind the issue should be determined by a legislature rather than a court.

At Thursday's protest there was chanting involving supporters of both sides of the emotive debate. Opponents included anti-abortion activist Bernie Smyth.

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Three women gathered in a circle and others dressed as handmaidens, in reference to the Margaret Atwood novel The Handmaid's Tale about women's rights being stripped away, stood behind them.

Brexit Secretary David Davis is creating a Brexit plan that would give Northern Ireland joint United Kingdom and European Union status so it could trade freely with both, as well as a buffer zone to eliminate the need for border checkpoints with Ireland, The Sun newspaper reported on Thursday.

She said the PSNI was under enormous pressure and was aware of the worldwide pressure inspired by the repeal movement.

Support for staying in the European Union is increasing in Northern Ireland as the Brexit negotiations falter, according to a study released this month by Queen's University, Belfast.

She added that they were "willing to flout the law because we do believe it violates human rights".

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