NI: Amnesty slams ‘grotesque spectacle’ of abortion accused before courts
Amnesty International has called for abortion laws to be reformed as a second case involving a woman accused of procuring drugs to induce a miscarriage comes before Belfast Crown Court.
Yesterday, a 21-year-old woman was given a three-month jail sentence suspended for two years after illegally inducing her miscarriage in July 2014 using drugs that she bought online.
Amnesty criticised the prosecution and said it was “utterly appalled by the court’s decision”.
In a second case brought before the court today, a woman has been accused of two charges of unlawfully procuring pills known for their use in terminating pregnancies at a location in Belfast in 2013.
She allegedly obtained the pills in order to supply them to her pregnant daughter.
Michelle Beyers of Amnesty International observed the arraignment in court this morning. It was adjourned until Wednesday 27 April.
Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland director at Amnesty International, said: “Yet again we have the grotesque spectacle of the might of Northern Ireland’s criminal justice system lined up against a woman who simply wanted to access a service freely available on the NHS in every other part of the UK.
“The criminalisation of women in Northern Ireland must stop.
“Reproductive healthcare must be taken out of the realm of criminal justice and addressed as an issue of public health and human rights. Abortion should be a matter for women and their doctors, not judges.
“Northern Ireland’s abortion law must be changed to bring it into line with international standards. Abortion must be decriminalised and women should be able to access free and legal abortions in cases of fatal foetal abnormality, rape and incest.”