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Women Protest Northern Ireland’s Abortion Ban by Turning Themselves In

May 24, 2016

'We’re very angry that women are being criminalized'

Northern Ireland has received a lot of criticism for its restrictive abortion laws, which threaten lifetime sentences for women who terminate pregnancies. Three Derry women decided to make the issue personal by turning themselves over to police for buying illegal abortion pills.

UTV reports that Diana King, 71, Colette Devlin, 68, and Kitty O’Kane, 69, were “cheered by supporters” as they walked to the station. They say they hope that their public statement will “challenge the law in Northern Ireland, where abortion is still illegal.”

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“We’re very angry that women are being criminalized,” King told UTV. “We’re feeling very angry that it’s illegal, that women are placed in this situation, that women who can afford to travel to England can have a legal abortion but women who can’t afford to travel can only access nine-week abortion pills for £60.”

Devlin added: “Our purpose here is to highlight the fact that our government can actually dust off a Victorian law just to persecute young women who haven’t the money or resources to fly to England, get an abortion legally over there under the same National Health Service and then fly back again.”

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The Alliance for Choice organization in Northern Ireland posted on Facebook in support of the three women, saying, “We respect and applaud these women for challenging the draconian laws which exist in Northern Ireland—they say no choice, we say pro-choice!”

Read the group’s full post below: