Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom where abortion remains presumptively unlawful
When Westminster passed the Abortion Act in 1967 the Northern Ireland Parliament chose to retain the laws which protected children before birth. This means that Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom where abortion remains presumptively unlawful. Although the courts recognise a legal defence for a doctor who ends a pregnancy when a woman’s life is in danger, the strength of opposition from the people of Northern Ireland and their elected representatives has prevented any liberalisation of the law. Most recently, in February 2016, the Northern Ireland Assembly rejected an attempt to legalise abortion for children diagnosed with a life-limiting condition or conceived through criminal sexual activity.
Around the world abortion is undergoing a major change.
Abortion pills used in so-called medical abortions have overtaken surgical abortions.
This shift is being driven by ideological goals including, in the proponents’ words, “empowering women” through:
In Britain and Northern Ireland there are two significant campaigns underway to normalise abortion pills and reduce medical supervision:
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SPUC’s campaign against decriminalising abortion
Download the latest briefing: Briefing Notes on The Government’s Draft Regulations and Guidance (July 2018)
Pupils in both primary and secondary schools are frequently exposed to explicit, provocative presentations of sexual activity in sex and relationships education (SRE).
At primary school children as young as five years old are taught to identify their sexual organs. As children move up through the primary school they are given visual presentations of sexual intercourse; either as animations, pictures or written descriptions. Children are told that masturbation is a natural part of growing up, as well as seeing live films of childbirth.
At secondary school the emphasis is on how to access and use contraception. A typical presentation for secondary school pupils is how to use a condom using an anatomical model. Many schools have "confidential clinics" where pupils can be given abortion and contraception advice without the knowledge or consent of their parents.
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It is crucial that Welsh people act now to stop women being hurt by home abortions, SPUC CEO John Smeaton has said.
Welsh Health Secretary Vaughan Gething stated that the abortion pill should be authorised for home use. Mr Gething told Assembly Members: "I have instructed officials to start work immediately on how we can amend the legal framework to allow for the treatment of the termination of pregnancy to be carried out at home."
He added: "My officials will now work with stakeholders to develop a fully-costed and timetabled implementation plan."