Woman who illegally bought abortion pills online for 15 year old daughter challenges prosecution
20 September 2018
Precious Life demonstrate outside the court.
Buying abortion pills online is illegal throughout the UK
In the next stage of the assault on Northern Ireland's pro-life laws, a woman who illegally purchased abortion pills online is challenging the decision to prosecute her in court.
The woman, who cannot be named, is accused of procuring and supplying the dangerous drugs to her 15 year old daughter, who used them to induce an abortion. She faces two charges of unlawfully procuring and supplying the abortion drugs mifepristone and misoprostol with intent to procure a miscarriage.
Breaking the law isn't criminal?
Despite the fact that both buying abortion pills online and taking them without medical approval is illegal across the UK, the woman is seeking to overturn the decision by the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland to bring her to criminal trial.
Amnesty International, who recently changed their position to one of overt support for abortion as a human right, is an intervenor in the case. Grainne Teggart, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Campaign Manager, insisted that "this mother is not a criminal" and described the abortion drugs as "medication that is prescribed free on the NHS in every other part of the UK."
"Very, very serious consequences for women"
As well as being illegal throughout the UK, inducing an abortion with illegal pills without supervision is widely agreed to be dangerous. Dr Peter Boylan, one of the lead campaigners for introducing abortion into the Republic of Ireland, said: "There are serious dangers when women take them [abortion pills] without medical supervision. We have knowledge of women who have taken them in excessive dosage and that can result in catastrophe for a woman such as a rupture of the uterus with very significant haemorrhage. And if that happens in the privacy of a woman’s home or perhaps in an apartment somewhere, that can have very, very serious consequences for women."
Ongoing attack on NI's pro-life laws
Pro-life campaigners demonstrated outside the court in Belfast today, to "highlight the importance of our pro-life laws that protect both the mother and her unborn child."
After an initial hearing today, the case was adjourned until November.
Liam Gibson, SPUC's Northern Ireland officer said: "This case cannot be understood in isolation. This is merely one part of an ongoing assault on Northern Ireland’s the legal protection for unborn children and a campaign to make it impossible to prosecute anyone for procuring an illegal abortion."
Next month Diana Johnson, the Labour MP for Hull North - who represents no one in Northern Ireland - will introduce a Bill in the House of Commons which could pave the way for abortion to be made legally available in the Province for any reason whatsoever. Even this seems less extreme than a mother challenging the state for the right to give dubiously sourced abortion drugs to her underage daughter with no repercussions.
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