Abortion Laws in Ireland

Posted on 16-02-17 by Westminster North CLP Number of votes: 1 | Number of comments: 0

Call for campaign to change the law, particularly to give equality of access to women in NI

From Westminster North CLP. Should this be referred to the Justice Policy Commission as well?

1. This CLP notes:

a. Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the European Union, preventing women from choosing an abortion for any reason including personal, economic, medical, rape, or incest.

b. In Northern Ireland, the 1967 Abortion Act (which in the rest of the UK allows a termination to be legally carried out up to a 24-week limit, and can be legal beyond that limit in certain cases) does not apply, where abortion is only permitted to save the life of the mother. The sentence for breaking the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act is a lifetime sentence.

c. In the Republic of Ireland, the 8th Amendment to the Irish Constitution compels the state to protect a foetus in all cases except when the mother's life is at risk. In 2014, an average of 10 women travelled from Ireland to Britain every day for an abortion. Anyone who procures an abortion or assists someone to procure an abortion in Ireland can be imprisoned for up to 14 years.

d. The London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign aims to bring people in London together to campaign for free, safe, legal abortion, including the decriminalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland, and the repealing of the 8th Amendment.

2. This CLP believes that:

a. Ever since its formation the Labour Party has been the natural home for generations of women campaigning for social justice and equality. The fight for a Woman's right to choose is a global fight.

b. Access to abortion should be free, safe and legal.

c. The existing laws impose an additional penalty on those without the means (financial or otherwise) to travel to England, Wales or Scotland for an abortion, as they are forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, or to illegally produce a termination at home.

3. This CLP therefore resolves to:

a. Stand in solidarity with the women of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

b. Support, by any means available, the London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign in the campaign to repeal the 8th Amendment in the Republic of Ireland and the decriminalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland.

Referring to: Health and Social Care

The Health and Social Care Policy Commission develops Labour policy and thinking on areas including the future of the NHS, mental health, public health and social care.

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