Alliance for Choice are encouraged by the Irish Health Minister, Simon Harris’s commitment to ensuring that people from Northern Ireland will be able to access abortion services in the Republic. Although we welcome his reiteration of support, this is still not a solution to the lack of abortion access for us in the counties we call home. Women and pregnant people who travel for abortion care face practical and financial barriers which may be lessened by travelling to Dublin rather than Liverpool. However, they still exist and the details for accessing healthcare outside of our usual jurisdiction will require a great deal of co-operation and diplomacy from our representatives in Stormont. The commitment from Ireland's Health Minister to provide another option for those who are able to travel for services displays continued willingness to provide support, but alas many will still be unable to travel and will be forced to continue a pregnancy against their will.
In addition to legal and practical barriers, pregnant people in Northern Ireland have faced criminal sanctions and police interference for accessing abortion care. The people of Northern Ireland deserve free, safe and legal abortion within our own jurisdiction, with local care and support. It is vital that sections 58/59 of the Offences Against the Persons Act are repealed by Westminster urgently and that safe, accessible abortion care is provided.
Alliance for Choice remains frustrated with our MLAs who are not brave enough to stand up for the tens of thousands of abortion seekers who have been denied dignified treatment at home in Antrim, Armagh, Derry, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone. With over 28 women a week reported to have sought treatment in England since the recent funding scheme, it is time that they, like their Dáil counterparts, recognise their failure and start to provide care to pregnant people in their own counties. We would also remind Simon Harris, along with our counterparts in the Abortion Rights Campaign, that this helping hand should not be restricted on the basis of residency status or nationality but provided to all who need it as a matter of urgency, after decades of failing women and pregnant people.
Emma Campbell and Kellie O’Dowd of Alliance for Choice have been invited to speak about #decrimNi and the continued struggle across the whole island for access to free, safe and legal abortion at the 7th Annual March for Choice run by the Abortion Rights Campaign on 29th September 2018 in Dublin.
What can I do?
- If you live in England/Wales/Scotland please EMAIL YOUR MP
- We are updating our Merchandise all the time and every penny helps in fundraising, check out our sweatshirts here!!
- Check out the amazing fact-filled page on our campaign in conjunction with the London Irish Abortion Rights Campaign #NowForNI
- Donate to help us continue our work at our LocalGiving page
- We are working with In Her Shoes to gather stories from NI abortion seekers, please submit and share