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(en) Workers Solidarity #77 - Fight for a women's right to choose - Belfast High Court refuses to say when abortion is legal

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Mon, 29 Sep 2003 08:20:54 +0200 (CEST)

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We are often told that ignorance of the law is no excuse, but what
are we to do when nobody will say what the law means?
The High Court in Belfast has said NO to a request that it spell
out what is legal and what is not. The Family Planning
Association had asked it to order the Department of Health to
publish guidelines about when abortion is legal in the six counties.
The ruling restates the existing law, that abortion is legal if in the
clinic judgement of a woman's doctor the physical or mental health
of the woman is at serious or grave risk if she continues with her

Some doctors would interpret this fairly liberally, that compelling a
woman to continue an unwanted pregnancy could put her mental
health at serious risk. But, as there are no clear guidelines, those
doctors could then be open to legal action from anti-abortion
pressure groups.

This legal confusion has meant that the vast majority of northern
Irish abortions happen in England. And this is why Northern
women are three times more likely to have a late abortion. The
delay is caused by the time spent having to find in the region of
£700 for the clinic and travel costs.

If abortion were freely available on the health service why would
any woman choose to have a late abortion? In Britain over 90% of
abortions are carried out before the 12th week of pregnancy.
Dublin - Alliance for Choice launched

The 20th anniversary of the anti-choice referendum of 1983 saw
the launch of a new pro-choice campaign, 'The Alliance for Choice'
launched in Dublin. Since 1983 over 100,000 Irish women have had
to travel to England for abortions.

At the launch Cathleen O'Neill, drawing on her experience over
the past 20 years said:

"If I had a pound for every fundraiser I worked on to help
working class women go to England for an abortion, I'd be a rich
woman. Taking children into our homes for the duration of the visit
- pretending that Mammy was gone to a funeral; holding pub
quizzes, and running limited draws, as well as running sales of
work and raffles under weird and wonderful names to preserve
anonymity. Almost every other week. It's bad enough for those
who can afford to travel, but for poorer women it's hell. It's time
those who claim to represent us to get a grip on reality and take
steps to end this nightmare."

The Alliance for Choice can be contacted at AfC, PO Box 8852,
Phibsboro, Dublin 7 or by email at allianceforchoice@eircom.net

Anarchism and the fight for Abortion rights

This page is from the print version of the
Irish Anarchist paper 'Workers Solidarity'.

Print out the PDF file of this issue

Print out the PDF file of the most recent issue

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