Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland teen risks prison to get abortion pills for pregnant friend

By Cate McCurry

A student from Northern Ireland has described how she risks being jailed after helping a pregnant friend access abortion pills.

The teenager, who does not want to be named, revealed that even the threat of prison won't stop her from acquiring the pills.

The 17-year-old, who described herself as a pro-choice activist, criticised the high travel and accommodation costs for women who want to access free abortion care in England.

Speaking on London radio station LBC, she said: "A girl I knew told me she was pregnant.

"She was only 17, she had just started her A-levels.

"Her boyfriend was much older than her, which was obviously a problem. Her family didn't know.

"I talked her through all her options and said you could keep it but you will have to stop your studying."

The pregnant friend said she had thought of an abortion, but could not afford to travel to England.

"I told her I could help her get pills because I know people who were high-profile abortion rights activists and I also know about a website who deliver abortion pills," the teenager added.

"The area that we live in has one of the highest poverty rates in the UK and many working-class women or people who can get pregnant simply don't have the money to go overseas.

"And, also, what would they tell work or their school or their friends if they are taking random trips across the water?

"Even though it's free it's really impractical and there's still a high cost associated with it for travel."

She said she was left "sickened" at the thought of her friend resorting to "dangerous abortion methods". She added: "Obviously I could go to jail for facilitating illegal abortion but that doesn't stop me because women and people who can get pregnant are still going to get pregnant. I just prefer to help them so they can get it in a safe way. I don't care about the consequences for me."

But Bernie Smyth, head of pro-life group Precious Life, said the teenager was "endangering" other young people's lives.

"This is a young student at school who has been very ill-informed of the consequences of making available such a dangerous pill that not only takes the life of an unborn child but is very damaging to a woman," she said.

"It should concern us all that a young person is doing this without regard to the consequences for other young people. This is endangering women's lives."

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