Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/882/21902

From The Socialist newspaper, 9 December 2015

Northern Ireland: movement needed for abortion rights

Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party Northern Ireland

On 30 November, in a landmark case, Belfast High Court ruled that Northern Ireland's archaic abortion laws contravene human rights and that terminations should be permitted in cases of fatal foetal abnormality and where pregnancy is the result of sexual crime.

Up until now, abortion has been all but banned, except in circumstances where the woman's life or long-term health is directly at risk. Around 1,000 women travel from Northern Ireland to Britain every year to access abortions, costing each several thousand pounds.

The case was taken following public outcry against the treatment of Sarah Ewart. In 2013, this young woman found out she was carrying a foetus with anencephaly - a condition where the skull and brain do not properly form - and had no chance of survival after birth.

Disgustingly, Sarah was told that she could not have an abortion in Northern Ireland under existing rules and would have to carry the foetus to term. Rather than go through that unimaginable ordeal, she chose to travel to England for a termination, adding to her emotional distress.

Abortion in Northern Ireland is governed by the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act but even this 154-year-old legislation should have allowed Sarah Ewart to access a termination. It was the guidelines put in place by today's politicians in the local Assembly which prevented medical professionals from giving her the treatment she wanted and required!

All the main parties - Unionist and nationalist - are united in opposing a woman's right to choose. During the negotiations which brought about the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, one of the few things upon which politicians from across the sectarian divide were united was their determination that the 1967 Abortion Act would not be extended from Britain to Northern Ireland.

Unsurprisingly, the Democratic Unionist Party - dominated by religious fundamentalists - remains staunchly opposed to abortion in any circumstances. But even Sinn Féin - which styles itself as a 'progressive' party - has only belatedly come to support access to abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality this year, with opposition from some leading figures, and remains opposed to abortion rights for rape victims.

These politicians are out of touch with ordinary people, with polls showing a significant majority in favour of dramatically extending abortion rights.

The High Court's ruling will be appealed by anti-choice groups and face obstruction within the Assembly. An active movement on the streets is the best way to secure this victory and ensure that it is a first step towards winning women's right to control their own bodies.

The fight for abortion rights must be connected to a broader movement for real choice - for secular sex education in a school system currently dominated by the churches; for access to free contraception; for access to free IVF treatment; for jobs, homes and benefits which allow people to provide a decent life for children they do wish to have.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 9 December 2015:


What we think

How can Corbyn and the left win in the Labour Party?

International Brigades fought against capitalism, not for


Socialist Party news and analysis

Defending the right to deselect warmongers

Young people accused of extremism

Rail fares and profits rise as service suffers

Tax-dodging drug firm shuts research facility

Them & Us

Quiz of the year


International socialist news and analysis

French elections - Le Pen's far-right FN surges

Venezuela elections

Northern Ireland: movement needed for abortion rights

Ireland - defend the Jobstown protesters

Sweden - public housing victory

Belgium - party congress success


Socialist Party feature

Floods reveal effect of government cuts

Carlisle - lives and livelihoods devastated

Capitalism's climate change policy failure


War and terrorism

A week of anti-war campaigning in Walthamstow


Workplace news and analysis

Interview with new RMT president

Unison general secretary election in crisis

Trade unions must join the fight for steel nationalisation

Strike in support of suspended headteacher

NSSN action in the North East

Workplace news in brief

Readers' comments and reviews

Eleanor Marx: A life of struggle, solidarity and socialism


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

TV review: Tomorrow's Food

Letters


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Fight to save our NHS

Thousands march around the country against the bombing of Syria

Confronting the far right in Derby

Subs campaign: have you increased yours yet?

North West fighting fund week of action!

The Socialist Christmas schedule

Socialist Party national committee meeting


 

Home   |   The Socialist 9 December 2015   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Northern Ireland:

triangleStrike together to kick Tories out

triangleReject the mega-supermarket merger: nationalise to save jobs

triangleA socialist approach to Corbyn and a customs union

triangleNorthern Ireland: peace process on the brink

triangleCaerphilly Socialist Party: Is peace in Northern Ireland threatened by Brexit?

Ireland:

triangleSalford Socialist Party: The abortion rights victory in Ireland

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: How Southern Ireland won abortion rights

triangleRich, raw tale of financial crisis's impact on rural Ireland

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Ireland's Abortion rights referendum

Abortion:

triangleLewisham and Southwark Socialist Party: Ireland votes for abortion rights!

triangleHistoric victory won by grassroots movement

triangleLandslide vote to repeal Ireland's abortion laws

Women:

triangleHow can we fight for trade unions that fight for women?

triangleAlt-right gains exposure - but tedious clichés betray lack of ideas

Rape:

triangleSpain: 'We don't want to be brave, we want to be free!'

Right to choose:

triangleYouthful enthusiasm to break with repression of past

Pregnancy:

triangleTV review: Abortion on Trial - hard-hitting look at impact of 1967 act

Sex:

triangle30 years on from Section 28: the legacy of fighting LGBT+ attacks must continue

Belfast:

triangleThe Socialist inbox

1967 Abortion Act:

triangle1967 Abortion Act reflected social changes

Human rights:

triangleWorkers' protests against state repression in China and Hong Kong

Health:

triangleHealth unions accept divisive NHS pay deal - but fightback could have won much more

International

International

13/6/18

Venezuela

Venezuela: Neither the capitalists nor regime can solve the crisis

6/6/18

Italy

Italy's political crisis is reverberating through Europe

6/6/18

Jordan

Jordan: Workers and youth remove prime minister and demand end to austerity

6/6/18

Donald Trump

No to Trump's trade war

4/6/18

Gaza

Eyewitness report from Gaza: "Razan was killed in front of my eyes"

30/5/18

Ireland

Historic victory won by grassroots movement

28/5/18

Ireland

Landslide vote to repeal Ireland's abortion laws

23/5/18

Gaza

Yes to the struggle to lift the siege

23/5/18

Amazon

Tax Amazon movement wins in Seattle

16/5/18

Spain

Spain: Student general strike against sexist, capitalist 'justice' system

16/5/18

Belgium

Belgium Lidl strike victory

16/5/18

Gaza

Exclusive interview with Gazan activist: "The more they kill us, the more the anger increases"

16/5/18

Sweden

Sweden: Socialist elected leader of 77,000-strong tenants' union

9/5/18

Israel

Socialists fight for Palestinian liberation and workers' unity

9/5/18

Antisemitism

Socialists in Israel-Palestine reject establishment antisemitism charge against Jeremy Corbyn

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999