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Amnesty response to BMA call for decriminalisation of abortion

Responding to the British Medical Association passing a motion calling for the decriminalisation of abortion in the UK, Grainne Teggart, Amnesty International UK’s Northern Ireland Campaign Manager, said:

“This is an important development. Right now, in 2017 in Northern Ireland, women are still being hauled before the courts for accessing abortion because of the failure of both the Northern Ireland and Westminster governments to bring our abortion laws in line with human rights standards.

“This is down to archaic and discriminatory 19th Century laws which mean that abortion is unlawful in almost every circumstance in this part of the UK.  These laws in Northern Ireland not only force women resort to taking “abortion pills” without medical supervision, but they continue to exert a chilling effect on the medical profession, who are already torn between their desire to help women and to avoid prosecution.

“Women who need abortions are not criminals, the law should not treat them as such. We are calling on the UK Government to commit, particularly in the absence of functioning devolution, to prioritise bringing Northern Ireland’s abortion laws in line with international human rights standards. This must include the decriminalisation of abortion.”


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