Protest at Belfast court over abortion pills conviction
Pro-choice activists took to the streets yesterday to demonstrate against the prosecution of a woman who induced a miscarriage with tablets bought online.
Around 80 people gathered outside Belfast's High Court, chanting: "Keep your rosaries off my ovaries. We say pro-choice, they say no choice."
The demonstration was organised by the Alliance for Choice and the Belfast Feminist Network, and attended by members of the public, trade unions and Amnesty International.
It came after a 21-year-old was given a three-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, for procuring an abortion with medication purchased on the internet.
Alliance for Choice chair Emma Campbell said: "We are outraged at the criminalisation of women that need to take abortion into their own hands, because they cannot access the means to travel to England.
"Northern Irish women have abortions - thousands go across (the water) to do it. The MLAs are fine about it as long as they don't have abortions here so they don't lose their religious voters."
Rowan Tunnicliffe, chair of Amnesty International at Queen's University, added: "Women in Northern Ireland... do not have the same rights as women in England. They do not have the right over their own body. The state is enforcing unwanted pregnancy.
"It's an income issue too - women from poorer backgrounds are disproportionately affected. Better-off women can afford to travel for treatment. We're saying that this isn't right."
A second protest against criminalising abortions will be held in Londonderry later this week.