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As many women of all gender-identities, races, classes and ages are aware, the abortion laws in Northern Ireland are one of the most dangerous and limiting in the world.

Recently, attention has been drawn to the blanket ban on abortion in place in the North as a result of the attack on reproductive rights in America by right-wing, conservative administrations.

However, under a law from 1861, Northern Ireland has criminalised abortion with a maximum sentence of life in prison. Both the medical practitioner who carries out the abortion and the recipient face prison time.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Marie Stopes International (@mariestopes) on

Rape and incest are not allowed as exceptions, only if the mother's life is in danger.

As we saw in the Republic, that is a very difficult line to draw, and essentially gives the foetus equal rights to the mother, despite the fact that it cannot survive outside of her body until late in the pregnancy.

These laws are extremely different from the rest of the UK, where abortion is allowed up until 24 weeks since 1967.

These controversial laws have been condemned in recent years, with the Supreme Court calling it 'untenable' and in need of 'radical reconsideration', and the UN Human Rights body CEDAW referring to it as a 'grave and systematic' violation of NI women's rights.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Medical bodies, women's rights organisations, politicians and a large part of the general public are calling on Karen Bradley, NI's Secretary of State, to unite Stormont in legalising abortion in NI and regulate it in the same way as every other medical procedure.

If the intense stipulations of the 1967 Act are not met, both people with uteruses and their doctors remain at risk of prosecution.

Alarmingly, five out of the six Conservative candidates for the Tory leadership recently said they would take no action against NI's laws, and Boris Johnson failed to answer the question.

Celebrities are using their platform to spread the message, yet there remains almost a total silence from politicians themselves.

We decided to take it upon ourselves to quiz Irish men on their knowledge of the highly restrictive abortion laws (God help us), to see how the other half lives.

The answers we received ranged from having absolutely zero clue about the reproductive healthcare policies, to knowing more about the current 'Heartbeat Bills' sweeping across Gilead/America's Southern states, to knowing about the laws in surprising detail.

The following range of people who identify as male in the Rep. of Ireland have offered their first names, and will remain otherwise anonymous. 

Dan:

"I know that they can go to England to get it done for free, so it's similar to our right to travel law we had before Repeal. I also remember it being slightly more liberal than our Eighth Amendment. I think it accounts for situations where the mothers life is at risk and will be permit abortions in that circumstance, but it's otherwise banned. They’re a joke. It's the only part of the United Kingdom or Ireland to ban abortion, you could say it's Draconian."

Cian:

"I'd say the women in the North see going to England as less of a big deal than going over from Republic of Ireland because they see themselves as closer to English. I don't know much about them to be honest."

Eoin:

"I have absolutely no clue about the North's abortion policy, but I'm guessing it's sh*t."

Kev:

"Is it the same as England? I've been following bits about it from Aisling Bea's Instagram, she's very forward on that stuff. I do like her a lot, but I just know they don't have access to abortion. That's it. I saw that the North have made a logo for Repeal that's similar to ours."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Janine McLaughlin (@janinemclaughlin) on

James:

"I think no abortions are allowed in Northern Ireland. I believe it should be the exact same as laws in England. I did have to think about it, though. I am 100 percent unfamiliar with the specifics of the law in Northern Ireland and what special situations it may be allowed."

Marcus:

"There is no access to abortion in the North, which is not in line with rest of UK. I believe that women in the North should be able to access these services. The Derry Girls cast, Nicola Coughlan and Siobhan McSweeney particularly, are quite active in drawing attention to protesting the lack of services. I think they led the suitcase protest at Westminster."

(#DerryGirls REPRESENT.)

@theirishfor:

"I know that the law is different there because of a weird time overlap between the 1967 UK legislation and the existence of the Old Stormont parliament. Irish women pay taxes to fund an NHS that won't serve them such services. I do not agree with them."

Brian:

"Call me Jon Snow because I know nothing. I'd have said that abortion wasn't available at all but don't know much else. And of course it should be available."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Calum:

"I thought it wasn’t the same as the rest of UK but that you could get the abortion pills through Northern Ireland, but obviously not as safely."

Dave:

"I just assumed it was the same as UK. I'm self-proclaimed ignorant when it comes to these topics though."

It's safe to say that a little more notice should be taken by men towards this issue. Supporting our Northern sisters can be progressed if we educate men on the issue; it's crucial not to forget their importance.

We're getting some extreme Handmaid's Tale vibes from up North, but if we can Repeal the eighth then there's hope for them too.

Men hold a huge amount of power when it comes to female reproductive healthcare, and it's time we start educating them about it.

Feature image: Amnesty International/Simon Graham

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Following news of Southern states in America passing a string of regressive abortion bans, numerous studios have spoken out about the idea of boycotting the state's film industry by refusing to film there.

Disney, Netflix, WarnerMedia and more are rumoured to be contemplating a ban on filming in states like Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana, and now Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee has added her opinion to the fray.

Speculation has emerged over the possibility of extending the boycott to Northern Ireland, which has some of the most strict reproductive healthcare laws in the world.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Derry Girls (@derry_girls_lover) on

Famously, Northern Ireland has been used as a filming location for shows like Game of Thrones, and recently Derry Girls on Channel 4.

Abortion in the North is illegal in basically all circumstances, with no exceptions for cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormalities.

A danger to the mother's life is an exception which is difficult to toe the line for, and practitioners as well as receivers of abortions face life in prison. 

The creator of the hit comedy show, Lisa McGee, has given her opinion on the notion of a filming ban in the North.

"I’ve been asked to comment on this issue so I will do it here," McGee wrote on Twitter.

"While I completely agree that abortion law in Northern Ireland is horrific and a breach of human rights, and that the British government must intervene and take immediate action."

"To bring it into line with the rest of the UK, I don’t feel a boycott of our film and television industry is the answer," she continued.

"The Northern Irish film and tv industry has been a light in the darkness. In a country where there is already little opportunity for young people it would only deprive them further.

"The fact that ultimately young Northern Irish women would suffer is depressing," she finished.

Nicola Coughlan, who plays Claire on Derry Girls, agreed with McGee's statements, She responded on Twitter by saying "Seconded."

What are your thoughts on the matter, do you agree with McGee?

Feature image: Instagram/@ingloriousloon

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