Anti-abortion and pro-abortion campaigners protest outside Parliament

Northern Ireland abortion protesters gather outside Parliament

Amnesty International protesters outside of Parliament. Image: Jonathan Brady /PA Wire.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Protesters representing both sides of the debate on abortion in Northern Ireland have gathered outside the Houses of Parliament in London.

The two sides are holding simultaneous protests organised by Amnesty International and Both Lives Matter.

Campaigners from Amnesty are calling on Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley to decriminalise abortion in Northern Ireland.

 

 

Abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland unless there is a serious risk to a woman’s life or health.

Unlike other parts of the UK, Northern Ireland is not covered by the 1967 Abortion Act.

 

'100,000 alive today' because of abortion laws

Derry Girls cast members Siobhan McSweeney and Nicola Coughlan (right) join Amnesty International protest calling for Northern Ireland to decriminalise abortion. Image: Jonathan Brady /PA Wire.

As part of the Amnesty protest 28 women, including stars of comedy Derry Girls and Independent Group MP Heidi Allen, are marching on Westminster to demand the extension of abortion rights to Northern Ireland.

Amnesty said the 28 women represent the number of women who fly from Northern Ireland for an abortion each week.

The protest is also delivering a petition, with 62,000 signatures, to the Northern Ireland office calling for abortion rights to be extended to Northern Ireland.

 

 

Both Lives Matter called on Northern Ireland secretary to ensure that Parliament "respects devolution" and not make changes to Northern Irish abortion laws. 

The group had ten women each carrying a box, which contained 100,000 names of the “100,000 people who are alive today because of Northern Ireland’s laws on abortion”.

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) has called for the reform of "termination of pregnancy" laws in Northern Ireland.

The commission is in Geneva, Switzerland to address the UN’s Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.