Abortion Campaigners urge Govs to act on ‘basic human rights’

Last week the Dail passed the bill to legalise abortion in Ireland up to 12 weeks.

Once the bill passes the Seanad and is signed into law, it will be the first time in history of the state that free access to abortion is legal.

Although that seems monumental, people are still waiting for "basic human rights" to abortion care says the Abortion Rights Campaign.

Their comments come as today marks International Human Right Day 2018.

The campaigners have called upon Governments, both North and South to "secure and vindicate basic human rights to abortion access."

Although the Republic of Ireland held a referendum earlier this year, and subsequently voted to repeal the 8th amendment, abortion is still criminalised in Northern Ireland.

This weekend, the Abortion Rights Campaign submitted a response to the Women and Equalities Committee Inquiry on Abortion Law in Northern Ireland.

Linda Kavanagh, a spokesperson for the group, said: “We call upon Westminster to take the necessary actions to provide free, safe, legal and local abortion access for women and pregnant people in the North."

"As several international monitoring bodies have made clear, reproductive rights should never be a devolved issue. The UK Government have an affirmative obligation to provide abortion access in Northern Ireland,” she added.

“We urge the UK Government to decriminalise abortion across the UK, in line with international norms and best practice. The 150-year old criminal laws are still being enforced in Northern Ireland. The Northern Irish government actively prosecutes people for accessing abortion medication outside of the law. These prosecutions are cruel, unjust and inhumane, and they need to stop."

The group called for local abortion provisions to be provided for people in Northern Ireland, adding that travelling to Liverpool, Manchester or in the near future, Dublin, is just "not good enough."

Linda explained that the public in the north are ready for change and highlighted that two-thirds say that Westminster has a duty to reform the country’s abortion law and enable people to access healthcare at home.

She continued: “As we mark this day, we acknowledge that people in the Republic too are waiting for their rights to be realised. Since the referendum in May, almost 2,000 people have travelled abroad to access abortion services which should be available at home. More than 500 have imported abortion pills despite the continued legal risks in doing so."

We are united with those in North Ireland fighting for the Government to decriminalise abortion and to give safe access to medical care.