January 14th: Trade union Unite has today condemned the arrest and prosecution of women in Northern Ireland charged with procuring and/or administering abortion pills. Pointing out that, under the 2013 Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, the same offence would carry a 14-year sentence in the Republic, the union’s Equalities Officer Taryn Trainor said that women in both jurisdictions face possible criminalisation for accessing essential medication which, elsewhere, could be prescribed by a doctor.
“According to figures published at the end of last year, nearly 25,000 women from both parts of the island travelled to Britain to obtain an abortion between 2010 and 2014.
“Those women who cannot travel for financial, medical or other reasons are forced either to carry a crisis pregnancy to term, including pregnancies resulting from rape or incest or involving a fatal foetal abnormality, or to break the law.
“Criminalising women facing crisis pregnancies is anti-woman – not pro-life.
“The protection of women’s health on the island of Ireland requires that the 1967 Abortion Act be extended to Northern Ireland, and that the Eighth Amendment be repealed in the Republic as a prelude to the introduction of fit-for-purpose abortion legislation”, Ms Trainor concluded.