Friday 30 September 2016

Three women hand themselves in after buying abortion pills

Catherine Devine

Published 24/05/2016 | 16:28

Three women handed themselves into a police station yesterday asking to be prosecuted for buying abortion pills.

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Alliance for Choice members Kitty O’Kane (69), Colette Devlin (68) and Diana King (71), said they were protesting against Northern Ireland’s strict abortion laws.

“We feel very angry that it’s illegal. We’re angry that women are placed in this situation. That women who can afford to travel to England can have a legal abortion but women who can’t afford to travel can only access nine week abortion pills for £60. We’re very angry about that. We’re very angry that women are being criminalised,” said Diana King.

A PSNI spokesperson said: “Three females attended Strand Road police station last night in connection with the procurement of abortion pills, contrary to section 58 of the ‘Offences Against the Person Act.

“Police enquiries into the matter will continue.”

A crowd cheered as the women entered the police station. Supporters held sign that said: "Abortion: Punishment is the crime" and "Stop regulating my uterus!"

The women hope to trigger a trial to showcase the archaic nature of the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act, which makes abortion in Northern Ireland illegal except in extremely rare circumstances.

The protest was prompted by a case earlier this year where a woman in Belfast was given a suspended sentence for buying abortion bills to terminate her pregnancy.

In 2014 and 2015, there were 16 terminations in Northern Ireland compared to 185,000 abortions carried out in the UK according to the Department of Health.

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