Victory in the north as abortion access and marriage equality arrives in Northern Ireland

Date:

Abortion decriminalised in Northern Ireland. Marriage Equality decriminalised in Northern Ireland. It has been a long hard struggle, many years, many people.

Tonight we celebrate our victories.  Tomorrow we will fight for more.

The final day of the countdown had some tension to it as the reactionary DUP and elements of the SDLP teamed up to try and reopen Stormont after 1000 days of not caring to shoot down these extensions of equality to the 6 counties.  Writing ahead of these shenanigans the Alliance for Choice said "It is clearer that this action, after over 1000 days of no functioning government, has one sole agenda; to obstruct the fulfilment of the human rights of women, girls and anyone who can get pregnant. I take the view that those who have called for this sitting of the Assembly know that an Executive cannot be formed under these circumstances. This recall is nothing more than a political stunt and it is disgraceful that our bodies would be used as political pawns in such a manner."

But by lunchtime despite rumors that these attempts might even include some DUP members trying to reclassify as nationalists to reach the sectarian head count quota Stormont requires it became clear the attempts to stop reform had failed and they walked out of the chamber.  Pro-choice & marriage equality campaigners had been rallying outside Stormont throughout the morning and as the middnight deadline approached started to celebrate these historic victories that also serve to bring the north into alignment with the rest of the island.  Importantly we believe this also means the ongoing prosecutions in the north against people who had provided abortion pills will now come to an end.

After the deadline had passed Anna Carnegie, spokesperson for the Abortion Rights Campaign said “Free, safe, and legal abortion access across the island of Ireland has been a central goal of our campaign since its foundation in 2012” “Today, we move one step closer to making that a reality. The success of the repeal movement last year was made possible with the support and solidarity of our siblings in the North. When abortion services began in the Republic in January, the people of Northern Ireland were left behind: forced to pay exorbitant fees to access abortion south of the border, continue to travel across the Irish sea, or import safe but illegal pills – risking prosecution. So today we are delighted to finally mark this significant step forward with them.” 

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