Belfast Telegraph

It's an insult that posturing DUP would use women as political pawns in such a stunt

Naomi Connor, Alliance for Choice

By Naomi Connor

October 21, 1879 is hailed as the date that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. October 21, 2019 will hopefully mark the date when a piece of legislation that actually pre-dates that invention, and denies women and pregnant people in Northern Ireland abortion healthcare, will be repealed - that piece of legislation is the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act (sections 58 and 59) - but not if the DUP and others have their way on Monday.

We have been witness in the past few days to political theatrics of the highest order. Moves to recall the Assembly have taken shape and we are now faced with the prospect of a motion that seeks to maintain the status quo of reproductive coercion which means NI women are forced to travel and seek other means to access abortion services.

It will not succeed in the absence of a functioning Executive. However, what it does expose is the outright disregard that many politicians have for those of us who have travelled (at least 62,000 since 1967) and who have fought for many decades for our right to access abortion as an essential part of reproductive healthcare. The motion has one sole agenda: to obstruct the fulfilment of the human rights of anyone who can get pregnant.

We hope that MLAs will recognise this action for what it is and what it is not. It is not a genuine attempt to restart our devolved government. This recall is nothing more than a political stunt and it is an insult to women that they would use us as political pawns in such posturing.

Alliance For Choice will not be deterred in overturning the almost blanket ban on abortion that exists in NI and post-October 21 we will continue to campaign for abortion service provision and de-stigmatisation of abortion here. We look forward to working with those political representatives who work towards reproductive justice for all.

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