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Alliance for Choice marks the International Day for Decriminalisation of Abortion 2012 outside Belfast City Hall.
(Photo by Tyler McNally)
"If you can't trust me with a choice, how can you trust me with a child?" - good question from the girls who just want to have FUNdamental rights - at the Belfast rally on International Day for Decriminalisation of Abortion 2012.
(Photo by Tyler McNally)
Saturday 18th October 2008. Women from Alliance for Choice
held a symbolic protest between the two main shopping centres
in the centre of Derry to represent the 40 women who travel from
Northern Ireland every week for abortions in Britain.
(Photographs Available for download )
On Wednesday 22nd October 2008, the amendment to extend the Abortion Act to Northern Ireland was not debated or voted on at Westminster because of a procedural motion put by Harriet Harman, leader of the House of Commons and the Minister for Women and supported by many New Labour ‘feminist’ MPs. This misguided political opportunism is a shocking act of betrayal of women by government ministers who have built their careers on claiming to support women’s rights.
Harman claimed that, were the vote to go ahead, the House of Lords might reduce the current time limit for abortions. This was just lies. House of Lords voting records show that the Lords has never reversed a House of Commons decision on abortion. In recent years, the Lords have voted for progressive positions eight times on embryo and abortion issues.
The government was happy to allow debates which could have cut the time limit on abortion as low as 12 weeks, but amendments which could have finally got rid of the requirement for two doctors’ permission to get an abortion, and extend abortion rights to the North of Ireland were apparently too risky to consider.
After the debate, Diane Abbot wrote to Alliance for Choice to say:
“Over the past months I have heard from hundreds of people on the issue of extending the Abortion Act to Northern Ireland. Overwhelmingly these have been Northern Irish women, and some men, who have thanked me for giving women in Northern Ireland a chance at equality. The hundreds of people who have written to me and telephoned my office, the thousands of people who have protested and signed petitions, and the thousands more women whose voices have been silenced by a gap in legislation that does not recognise their rights as equal citizens of the United Kingdom nor their right to control their own bodies have today lost their chance to make their voice heard. Through a cynical and frankly undemocratic procedural motion the Government today thwarted the chance to even debate the notion of extending the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland. Today the Government has let these people down.
I will be working with colleagues and the organisations who have worked so hard to inform Parliament about the need for access to abortion in Northern Ireland to explore what options we have now for bringing equality to Northern Irish women.”
We in Alliance for Choice say that women from the North of Ireland, who pay the same taxes, receive the same benefits, the same level of child tax credit etc should have the same right to make decisions about their own bodies and health and have the NHS vindicate that right as women in Scotland, England and Wales...
We have not gone away, you know! In a matter of a few weeks we built a vibrant campaign. We have been delighted by the level of support that we have received from the many women (and men) who have: attended our meetings, participated in street events, lobbied MPs, contacted us with supportive messages through the website and all those who have become involved in many other ways.
The opinion polls (such as the one from the Fpa showing that only 20% of people in NI supported the current legal prohibition on abortion), the many discussions in which we have all participated and the coverage in the media have all moved on markedly from previous occasions when the subject of abortion rights has been raised here.
The main Stormont parties should take note that whatever bluster they may come up with in Westminster about their unanimity on the subject of abortion - their policies do not represent the interests of the women of Northern Ireland.
And finally ... we can only repeat our disappointment at the women of “New Labour” for letting this happen.
If you would like to join us in expressing dismay, Harriet Harman’s email address is:
You can copy the address from there or if you use a separate email program (such as Outlook or Mail) you can
click the link and it will launch an email that you can send to her.
We have set it to send a simple message to her:
Subject: Blocking Discussion of Extension of 67 Act to NI
“Shame on you Harriet Harman”.
If you decide to send her an email please remember to include your full name and post code as otherwise emails to Westminster tend not to be treated seriously.
Three 40-Women Protests were held simultaneously across Northern Ireland, in Belfast, Lisburn and Derry. These events symbolised the forty women who travel from Northern Ireland each week in order to obtain legal, safe abortions elsewhere. The Derry event was held between the two main shopping centres in the centre of the City. There, the women wore masks respesenting the cloak of secrecy under which this trafic is usually concealed.
During the “Forty Women” protest in Derry a huge banner was attached to the
railings on Shipquay Gate, in front of the Guildhall. It remained there for the rest
of the weekend.