Belfast City Council passes motion to decriminalise abortion pills

Belfast City Council have made the decision to decriminalise the use of abortion pills.

The motion comes just ahead of a trial, where a woman is being prosecuted for purchasing abortion pills for her teenage daughter. 

"The Council believes that abortion should be regulated like any other medical care and not by criminal law, while still enabling incidents of malpractice to be addressed, as with any other health service, through the general criminal law or medical disciplinary procedures," the motion read. 

“A woman who has an abortion is not a criminal, nor are healthcare professionals who care for them, and the law should not treat them as such.”

This move toward decriminilising abortion pills was put forward by Councillor Kate Nicholl of Alliance Party and backed by Councillor Mary Ellen Campbell of Sinn Féin.

Ms Campbell said that “it is wrong to criminalise women who choose to have an abortion… and also wrong to criminalise those healthcare professionals who have a duty of care to vulnerable patients”.

It passed with 34 votes for, 16 against and 5 non-votes.

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