1) Belfast, NI: protest outside the Public Prosecution Service/Royal Courts of Justice, Lower Chichester Street, Thursday 7 April, 5.30-6.30pm, city centre. Hashtags: #notacriminal ; #trustwomen A statement about Poland will be read out here.2) Derry, NI: No More Prosecutions, Drop the Charges, protest Saturday 9 April, 2pm, Newmarket Street steps (outside Richmond Centre). 3) London: West End Central Police Station, 27 Savile Row, London W1, 9 April, 1pm. Pro-choice supporters will be ‘handing themselves in’ to the police in solidarity with women in Northern Ireland. Abortion Rights are calling for similar symbolic, small-scale actions across the country. Details at: Abortion RightsALLIANCE FOR CHOICE PRESS RELEASE:Alliance for Choice are dismayed at the decision today to hand a suspended prison sentence to a young woman who couldn’t afford to travel to England for an abortion, so bought pills on the internet.The Northern Ireland Assembly, the Westminster Government and the press should know that to arrest any UK citizen for taking one of the World Health Organization’s safest recommended drugs in order to end her own pregnancy, is the criminalisation of women who can’t afford to travel. This conviction is a threat to all people without similar means, and is a clear signal that women are not recognised as full citizens. This is also an indictment on the State party with responsibility for our Human Rights, which is Westminster.Alliance for Choice’s #trustwomen Campaign will keep abortion firmly on the political agenda in the run up to the Assembly Election. The campaign will push for progress on abortion legislation in Northern Ireland, which is currently one of the most restrictive in the world. We firmly believe that women should be trusted to know what is best for themselves and their families.We encourage our Assembly Members (MLAs) to:
- Trust Women to make decisions about their own lives
- Ask for legal change to allow greater access
- A free vote for all MLAs should progressive changes come to the Assembly.
- We are urging all our supporters to contact their MLA’s and prospective candidates and tell them that women are not to be criminalised and that it is time we #TRUST WOMEN
For the complete story (though with some errors of law):Northern Ireland woman who bought abortion pills given suspended prison sentence, 4 April 2016http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/apr/05/abortion-northern-ireland-sentencing#comment-71883069Woman carried out home abortion after failing to raise money to travel to England, court hears, 4 April 2016, http://www.belfastlive.co.uk/news/belfast-news/woman-carried-out-home-abortion-11135460Why we reported abortion pills girl to Northern Ireland Police, 6 April 2016 (appalling story) http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/why-we-reported-abortion-pills-girl-to-northern-ireland-police-34602857.htmlSee also excellent Comment by Emma Campbell, 5 April 2016:www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/apr/05/abortion-northern-ireland-sentencing#comment-71883069and brave interview with Goretti Horgan, 5 April 2016:http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/apr/05/abortion-activist-goretti-horgan-i-will-still-help-northern-irish-women-buy-pills