Abortion: Derry pro-choice campaigners consider handing themselves over to police

The 1967 Abortion Act does not apply to Northern Ireland
The 1967 Abortion Act does not apply to Northern Ireland

A group of Derry pro-choice campaigners, who have admitted to procuring and administering so called ‘abortion pills’, will decide later today whether or not to hand themselves over the PSNI.

It’s not the first time the Derry branch of ‘Alliance for Choice’ has made their actions known to police.

In March 2013 more than 100 women used and signed a letter to publicly admit that they had either procured or administered ‘abortion pills’ and in June 2015 more than 200 women and up to 30 men signed a similar letter admitting to the same.

The Derry brand of ‘Alliance for Choice’ are holding the meeting after a 21 year-old woman from Co. Down appeared in court earlier this week charged with terminating her own pregnancy by taking ‘abortion pills’.

“It’s not fair to charge one woman without charging and arresting the rest of us,” said Goretti Horgan from the Derry branch of ‘Alliance for Choice’.

“That’s why we are holding the meeting. Many of our Derry members have admitted to procuring and administering these pills so we will decide later on Friday whether we will hand ourselves over to the PSNI,” she added.

The 1967 Abortion Act does not apply in the North of Ireland which means anyone found guilty of procuring or administering ‘abortion pills’ could be sent to jail under the 1861 Offences Against the Persons Act, which makes abortion illegal in most cases and carries a penalty of life imprisonment.

Derry spokesperson for pro-life campaign group, ‘Precious Life’, Michelle Quigley, told the ‘Journal’ described the actions of any woman taking ‘abortion pills’ as “abominable” and that it was in the interests of justice that anyone found guilty of such actions be brought before the courts.

“Abortion is a very serious criminal offence in Northern Ireland. This latest case of a woman being brought to trial in Belfast for aborting her unborn child with abortion pills sends out a very clear message that anyone who commits the abominable crime of killing a vulnerable and defenceless unborn child will be held accountable to the law.

“If a doctor or anyone else were to distribute abortion pills or perform an abortion, it is in the interests of justice that he or she is caught and brought to trial.”