Today abortion has been decriminalised in Northern Ireland
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We've been working towards this - alongside brilliant activists, campaigners, clinicians & politicians across Northern Ireland and GB - for decades.
Today, the criminal sanctions for abortion in Northern Ireland have finally fallen away. From now on, no woman in NI will be threatened with prosecution for ending a pregnancy up to 24 weeks, and clinicians in Northern Ireland can at last develop a service to meet women's needs.
Today, it's #nowforNI.
This is a historic day and a huge victory. In recent years, up to 28 women per week have made the lonely journey from Northern Ireland overseas to access abortion care. Those who could not make the journey have had to make a choice: continue with an unwanted pregnancy, or order abortion pills online - risking up to life in prison.
This is no longer the case. From today, no woman in Northern Ireland who ends a pregnancy up to 24 weeks will face criminal prosecution. The ongoing JR76 case (of a mother who purchased abortion pills for her young teenage daughter) will also be dropped.
Midwives and doctors in Northern Ireland are now free to develop a woman-centred, high-quality service, so that Northern Irish women can access safe, legal care in their own country.
We could never have done this without the tireless work of Stella Creasy MP who has campaigned passionately on this issue for years.
This would also never have happened without your support. Thank you to every single person who has written to their MP over the years and supported the #nowforNI campaign. Your support for women in Northern Ireland has at last paid off.
Lots still to come, but for now we should take stock of this. It’s a momentous day for Northern Irish women’s rights.
** ⭐️ Free gift! ⭐️
We have a limited number of Now for NI tote bags remaining. To celebrate, we'll send you one as a free gift if you become a friend of bpas by the end of October.
** Our work
Here are some of the things you'll be supporting by becoming a friend of bpas:
We Trust Women
Under a law from 1861 any woman, anywhere in the UK, can go to prison for ending a pregnancy without the permission of two doctors. MPs support change, but we need the opportunity to make it happen. We are considering several legislative routes, including one based on the forthcoming Domestic Abuse Bill.
Preventing clinic protests
Anti-abortion activism targeted at clinics is on the rise in the UK. We are working to introduce buffer zones around abortion clinics to protect women and staff from intimidation and harassment. So far two buffer zones have been introduced, and more are in the pipeline.
Fighting the two-child benefits cap
The two-child benefits cap pushes families into poverty and impacts women's reproductive decisions. We are working with other UK charities to fight it. Read our briefing here ([link removed][UNIQID]) .
Just Say Non!
Our campaign for accessible emergency contraception has seen prices slashed across major pharmacy chains. We're now working to make it available straight from the pharmacy shelf, without a mandatory consultation – as already happens in the USA, Canada, and many European countries.
Improving access to contraception
We're working with pharmacists nationwide to improve access to several methods of contraception, including the injection and the pill.
Working with women in prisons
Our contraceptive counselling & well woman advice service in Europe's largest women’s prison, HMP Bronzefield, was an RCNi Nurse Awards ([link removed][UNIQID]) finalist. We provide confidential, non-judgemental counselling & education to aid women's wellbeing & rehabilitation.
Decriminalisation further afield
We’ve been working with pro-choice campaigners and the governments of the Isle of Man and Gibraltar to change their laws outlawing abortion and help them provide care for their citizens.
Women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy are bombarded with public health messages, for example about what to eat, drink, how much they should weigh, and what medications they should or shouldn’t take. The WRISK project ([link removed][UNIQID]) aims to understand and improve the communication of risk in pregnancy, to make things better for women.
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