Just last week, much of the World’s press had a cheeky wee chuckle when Donald Trump suggested that women who seek abortion services ‘should be prosecuted’.
Northern Ireland, the bastion of opportunity and foresight, is showing everyone what such a world would look like. A world where women are routinely dragged through the courts, like a grotesque circus show, to be punished for accessing medication that is available everywhere else in the UK.
Yesterday, a 19 year old woman was given a suspended sentence for accessing abortion medication (1st conviction of its kind in the UK in 40 years). Today, more women are being thrown before the courts, under a law that is older than the Lightbulb. It was revealed earlier today that a woman who was accused of supplying abortion pills to her daughter, is on trial today under the ‘Offences Against the Person Act 1861.’
These cases are opening up an incredibly strange and harrowing situation in Northern Ireland, a situation where women who are trying to decide what happens in their own bodies, are prosecuted in the courts but also in the press. Abortion seems to make Salem Witch Hunters out of much of our media, but only if you support women having a free, safe and legal choice in the matter.
Precious Life, NI’s leading organisation against abortion rights, has spent this week forsaking its name, as it proves through demanding a 19 year old receives life in prison for having an unsupervised miscarriage, that it cares about controlling women and not the ‘sanctity of life’. In many countries, media outlets would be exposing these people for the crazed bigots they are. Here, we give the women who touted on the 19 year old a nice sympathy piece, continuing the near enveloping anti choice dominance of the media space.
Alliance for Choice have came out and said that “no woman should be criminalised for seeking abortions just because they can’t afford to travel to England.” The pro choice campaign has organised a protest tomorrow at 17.30 to protest the injustice. We strongly encourage everyone to attend.
Labour Alternative’s Courtney Robinson, an 18 year old pro choice activist and socialist, put out a statement earlier today condemning the demonisation of the women being dragged before the courts:
“This young woman was in a vulnerable and isolated position when she chose to carry out a medical abortion. She needed help and support, not to be criminalised and demonised”
No one should be placed in front of a Judge for supplying this medication, it is the Northern Ireland Assembly that should be in dock for continually denying women their right to bodily autonomy, forcing many overseas to access abortion and many more online to find medication because travelling to England isn’t an option. That’s the real crime, but our Attorney General doesn’t seem to be too interested and neither does our media.