Abortion legislation to be discussed at council

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Members of Derry City & Strabane District Council will be asked to support the decriminalisation of abortion in the North when they meet for their monthly meeting for June this Thursday.

Sinn Féin’s group leader on the local authority Sandra Duffy is expected tobring forward a motion following the decision by a majority in the 26 counties that the Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution, which acknowledged the right to life of the unborn, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, should be repealed.

Colr. Duffy said legislators on this side of the border needed to follow suit by repealing sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 under which the supply, procurement and administration of drugs to cause an abortion is criminalised under threat of “penal servitude”.

She said: “The issue of abortion is a very sensitive one. It’s an emotive issue. It’s an issue that demands compassion.

“But it’s also obvious that current legislation north and south is failing women and the status quo is untenable. So it’s an issue we have to deal with but we have a responsibility to do so in a compassionate and caring manner.

“The result in the Repeal the 8th referendum delivered positive change and will help to create a society which is more compassionate and caring and which at its core trusts women.

“Sinn Féin played a leading role in the debate and in the campaign to Repeal the 8th Amendment.

“Those appropriate, modern and compassionate healthcare services for women must be available for all women in Ireland, north and south.”

Colr. Duffy said there is no place for sections 58 and 59 of OAPA 1861 in modern Irish society.

“Sinn Féin supports legislative change in the north. The first step in this process must be to end the criminalisation of women and through the repeal of sections 58 & 59 of the archaic OAPA 1861,” she stated.