Northern Ireland: Amnesty welcomes harassment conviction of anti-abortion protestor
Amnesty International has welcomed today's decision of a Belfast court to convict an anti-abortion protestor of harassment. The human rights organisation said it hopes this will bring an end to the intimidation of healthcare providers and women trying to exercise their right to health care.
Bernadette Smyth was convicted of harassing Marie Stopes Northern Ireland Director Dawn Purvis.
Grainne Teggart, Northern Ireland Campaigner at Amnesty International, said:
"Today's judgement represents an important day for women in Northern Ireland being able to exercise their right to sexual and reproductive healthcare free from harassment and intimidation. This should apply to both providers and women who access these services alike. No one should be harassed for providing or availing of vital healthcare services, including abortion.
"For too long Northern Ireland has been a hostile place for women trying to access sexual and reproductive rights, with highly restrictive and discriminatory laws, policies and practice.''
"People in Northern Ireland - of all denominations and none - want change to those restrictive laws on abortion. A recent poll commissioned by Amnesty International showed that seven in ten people here support a change to abortion law."