Today, Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine has joined women impacted by NI abortion law along with Amnesty International UK, other MPs, and other service providers and activists to hand in a petition to decriminalise abortion.
Ms Jardine was one of 28 women, the number who travel from NI to England each week for an abortion, who walked with suitcases to the Northern Ireland Office. The suitcases contain 62,000 signatures calling on Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, to decriminalise abortion.
Ms Jardine said:
“We cannot allow the women of Northern Ireland to continue to be denied the same human rights as those of us in the rest of the UK, and indeed across Europe, an injustice which has been criticised by the United Nations.
“The collapse of devolution in Northern Ireland is no excuse for ignoring the voices of women who have been raped, are expecting a child with a fatal foetal abnormality or because they just cannot be pregnant, and have sought an abortion.
“Today the Liberal Democrats are standing alongside Amnesty and colleagues from across the political divide to give those women a voice.
“It’s time the Government listened to them and to the 62,000 people who have signed the petition, who are calling for the decriminalisation of abortion.”
Grainne Teggart, Amnesty’s Northern Ireland Campaign Manager, said:
“62,000 people are calling on the Northern Ireland Secretary of State to decriminalise abortion. They recognise the grave harm caused by the existing law and want change.
“All eyes are firmly on the Secretary of State to see how she’ll respond. For too long our demands for equality have been ignored and our rights sacrificed for political expediency.
“The time for change is now. Northern Ireland cannot be left behind as the only part of the UK and Ireland with a near total ban on abortion. It’s 2019 - time we had laws that respect and value women’s lives.”