Woman Sentenced For Having Abortion - RightsInfo

Woman Sentenced For Having Abortion

A 21 year old woman in Northern Ireland has been given a three-month suspended sentence for buying pills over the internet to induce an abortion.

The news comes just a week after after we reported that following Northern Ireland’s High Court declaring that the country’s abortion law was incompatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the Northern Irish government had produced new guidance about when a doctor can lawfully perform an abortion. Currently abortion is only permitted in Northern Ireland when a woman’s life is at risk or there is a permanent or serious risk to her mental or physical health.

It has been reported that woman being sentenced was 19 when she became pregnant and felt isolated and unable to cope with the pregnancy. She could not afford to travel to England to for the termination. In desperation she contacted a clinic in England, who advised her on the pills she would need to buy. The Independent reported that her flatmates reported her to the police after finding the remains of a foetus in the bin.

In Northern Ireland cases are assessed as to whether the evidence provides a reasonable prospect of conviction, and whether such a conviction is in the public interest. Northern Ireland’s Public Prosecution Service said the case met both tests. At Belfast Crown Court on Monday the woman admitted two offences – procuring her own abortion by using a poison, and supplying a poison with intent to procure a miscarriage.

Pro-life campaign group Precious Life and have called for an appeal of the sentence, claiming it is as “very lenient”. Meanwhile it has provoked outrage from Amnesty International and other rights groups. Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Director described the sentencing as “appalling”, saying “a woman who needs an abortion is not a criminal. The law should not treat her as such”.

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About the Author

Charlotte Thomas

Project Co-Ordinator
Charlotte was a Senior Creative Manager at Universal Music for five years before studying for an LLM in Human Rights. She has worked with organisations campaigning on a range of issues including women's rights and indefinite detention. View all posts by Charlotte Thomas.
Woman Sentenced For Having Abortion
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