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Trio turn themselves in over abortion pills

By Colin O'Carroll

Published 24/05/2016

Three women have turned themselves into police in protest against the current abortion laws.

Diana King (71), Colette Devlin (68) and Kitty O’Kane (69) went to Strand Road police station in Londonderry to say they have taken delivery of abortion pills for women too afraid to have them delivered to their house.

Former social worker and foster mother Ms King said they wanted to challenge the 1861 law which they said “persecutes women” who are unable to afford the cost of travelling to England to have a legal abortion.

They told UTV: “We’re feeling very angry that it is illegal, that women are placed in this situation.

“Women who can afford to travel to England can have a legal abortion. Women that can’t afford to travel to England to have a legal abortion can only access nine-week abortion pills for £60.

“We’re very angry about that; we’re very angry that women are being criminalised.

Ms O’Kane added: “We’re very well prepared for the consequences that might come. Many of our women are being forced by a law that comes from the 19th century that doesn’t give them the freedom to make their own choice.”

Accompanied by their solicitor, the trio of women entered the police station with a prepared statement.

Supporters of the women protested outside the police station, holding placards. The current law makes abortion illegal here except in very specific circumstances. It is permitted if a woman’s life is at risk or there is a permanent or serious risk to her mental or physical health.

Earlier this year a Belfast woman was given a suspended sentence for buying drugs online to terminate her pregnancy.

Another case is currently going through the courts where a mother has been charged with giving her daughter pills to bring on a miscarriage.

Campaigners have criticised the Executive for failing to act and say they have washed their hands of the issue.

In 2014/15, there were 16 terminations in Northern Ireland compared to 185,000 abortions carried out in the UK, according to statistics from the Department of Health.

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