People Before Profit has launched a public petition today calling on the Derry City and Strabane District Council to pass a motion calling for the decriminalisation of women who access abortion modelled on a resolution passed by the Belfast City Council in April.
An overwhelming majority of Belfast City Councillors voted to call for the decriminalisation of abortion and to stop the prosecution of women who take abortion pills.
The successful Belfast City Council motion says: “This Council notes the increasing number of women who are accessing abortion pills via the internet, which leaves them vulnerable to prosecution.
“Council further notes the impact on healthcare professionals who under Section 5 of the Criminal Law Act (NI) 1967, have a duty to provide information to the police. Therefore, if a woman requires medical assistance after accessing these pills the threat of prosecution and life in prison is likely to act as a real deterrent thus potentially having a detrimental impact on her health. “Accordingly, Council believes 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.
“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.”
On the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights movement, women in the North and South are rising to demand the right to choose. By supporting this motion the DCSDC can help put an end to the current hypocrisy whereby women from here can get free abortions in England but can get up to life in prison if they take pills at home.
The DCSDC should take this opportunity to declare its support for the repeal of the reactionary 8th amendment in the South and for the right to choose.