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Pro-choice campaigner 'allowed women to use her credit card over 20 times to import abortion pills into Northern Ireland'

Published 05/04/2016

Leading pro-choice campaigner Goretti Horgan
Leading pro-choice campaigner Goretti Horgan

A prominent pro-choice campaigner has said she has allowed women to use her credit more than 20 times to import abortion pills into Northern Ireland.

Goretti Horgan from Alliance for Choice made her comments after a Northern Ireland woman was handed a suspended sentence for buying abortion drugs on the internet after failing to raise enough money to travel to England for a termination.

The 21-year-old, who cannot be named due to a court order, bought two types of drugs online, took them and then miscarried on July 12, 2014. The male foetus, which was between 10 and 12 weeks, was later found in the bin of a house she shared with two other people.

In court she pleaded guilty to two charges - namely procuring her own abortion by using a poison, and of supplying a poison with intent to procure a miscarriage.

Prior to sentencing, Crown prosecutor Kate McKay said that on July 20, 2014 police were contacted by the woman's housemates and were made aware that she had bought drugs online which had induced a miscarriage on July 12.

Handing the woman a three-month prison sentence, which was suspended for two years, Judge David McFarland spoke of the difference in legislation surrounding abortion in Northern Ireland, compared to England, Scotland and Wales.

Read more: Prosecution of woman who bought abortion drugs online 'in public interest'

Speaking to the BBC Goretti Horgan said she was very open about it and that many women did not have a credit card they could use.

"I make my credit card available for women to use if they want to access the pills. A lot of the time women don't want the pills arriving at their house.

"Hundreds of women and men allow their addresses to be used for the delivery of these pills."

"I have been very open about this. Over 200 women and some men signed an open letter in June saying again that the law here is irrelevant in the age of the internet and women being able to bring on an early miscarriage by taking simple pills."

Ms Horgan said she couldn't put a number on it but she had probably helped more than 20 people.

"These pills have been available now for 10 years.

"Not only are none of us particularly worried about this, we have stood outside police stations reminding police we signed letters giving them our names and addresses. We want the law to be sorted on this.

"The law that makes it illegal for women to take these pills is 155 years old, before the light bulb was invented."

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