Belfast Telegraph

Police to investigate footage of Bus4Choice abortion protest - Robot and pills seized

Eleanor Crossey Malone displays an abortion pill packet after taking a pill as abortion rights campaign group ROSA, Reproductive Rights Against Oppression, Sexism and Austerity distribute abortion pills from a touring bus on May 31, 2018 in Belfast. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Eleanor Crossey Malone displays an abortion pill packet after taking a pill as abortion rights campaign group ROSA, Reproductive Rights Against Oppression, Sexism and Austerity distribute abortion pills from a touring bus on May 31, 2018 in Belfast. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Eleanor Crossey Malone takes an abortion pill. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Dr Rebecca Gomperts discusses abortion pills with a PSNI inspector. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 31, 2018. See PA story IRISH Abortion. Photo credit should read: David Young/PA Wire
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Jim Wells speaks to the media in Lisburn. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 31, 2018. See PA story IRISH Abortion. Photo credit should read: David Young/PA Wire
Pro choice campaigners outside Belfast's Crown and High Courts where counter-demonstrations were held by both sides of the Northen Irish abortion argument. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where the procedure is not legal. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 31, 2018. See PA story IRISH Abortion. Photo credit should read: David Young/PA Wire
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 31: Bernie Smyth (L) of Precious Lives holds a counter pro life protest as abortion rights campaign group ROSA, Reproductive Rights Against Oppression, Sexism and Austerity distribute abortion pills from a touring bus on May 31, 2018 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Flouting Northern Irish governmental laws which forbid the use of abortion pills the group are also protesting outside offices belonging to the main political parties in the province. Women in Northern Ireland have been prosecuted for buying abortion pills over the internet and it is illegal for a woman to have an abortion unless in special circumstances unlike the rest of the United Kingdom. The Republic of Ireland voted in favour of pro-choice last week in a referendum. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 31: A robot drone delivers abortion pills as abortion rights campaign group ROSA, Reproductive Rights Against Oppression, Sexism and Austerity distribute abortion pills from a touring bus on May 31, 2018 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Flouting Northern Irish governmental laws which forbid the use of abortion pills the group are also protesting outside offices belonging to the main political parties in the province. Women in Northern Ireland have been prosecuted for buying abortion pills over the internet and it is illegal for a woman to have an abortion unless in special circumstances unlike the rest of the United Kingdom. The Republic of Ireland voted in favour of pro-choice last week in a referendum. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Doctor Rebecca Gomparts (R) comforts a woman after she is is led away by a police officer for questioning after taking an abortion pill as abortion rights campaign group ROSA, Reproductive Rights Against Oppression, Sexism and Austerity distribute abortion pills from a touring bus on May 31, 2018 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Abortion protest in Belfast. Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye © Thursday 31 May 2018
Anti-abortion camapigner Bernie Smyth at protest in Belfast. Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Abortion protest in Belfast. Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye © Thursday 31 May 2018
Pacemaker Press 31/5/2018 Pro Choice campaigners take a pill during a protest outside the Belfast Courts on Thursday. Abortion pills where delivered by robots to activists waiting to take them, The protest took place in answer to the ongoing abortion ban in Northern Ireland. Pic Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 31/5/2018 Pro Choice campaigners take a pill during a protest outside the Belfast Courts on Thursday. Abortion pills where delivered by robots to activists waiting to take them, The protest took place in answer to the ongoing abortion ban in Northern Ireland. Pic Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 31/5/2018 Pro Choice campaigners take a pill during a protest outside the Belfast Courts on Thursday. Abortion pills where delivered by robots to activists waiting to take them, The protest took place in answer to the ongoing abortion ban in Northern Ireland. Pic Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 31/5/2018 Pro Choice campaigners take a pill during a protest outside the Belfast Courts on Thursday. Abortion pills where delivered by robots to activists waiting to take them, The protest took place in answer to the ongoing abortion ban in Northern Ireland. Pic Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 31/5/2018 Pro Choice campaigners during a protest outside the Belfast Courts on Thursday. Abortion pills where delivered by robots to activists waiting to take them, The protest took place in answer to the ongoing abortion ban in Northern Ireland. Pic Pacemaker
Taking abortion pills distributed at Belfast pro-choice rally may lead to arrest, warn police. Pic Freddie Parkinson Presseye.
Abortion protest in Belfast. Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Abortion protest in Belfast. Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Abortion protest in Belfast. Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©.
Abortion protest in Belfast. Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©.
Abortion protest in Belfast. Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Abortion protest in Belfast. Pic Freddie Robinson Presseye
Jim Wells, DUP. Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©

Pro-choice campaigners have taken illegal abortion pills outside Northern Ireland's main court buildings in defiance of the strict laws governing terminations.

The PSNI have confirmed that they seized a robot that was intended to deliver abortion pills to women in Northern Ireland along with a number of pills.

The incident took place outside Laganside Courthouse in Belfast on Thursday afternoon.

Chief Inspector Stephen McCauley said, “Officers recorded footage of the demonstration, the details of a number of participants and have spoken with one of the event organisers.

"We will be reviewing the footage to determine whether any offences have been committed, but as we are now investigating this matter, we will not be commenting further.”

A number of people gathered outside the court to protest against the lack of access to abortion rights in Northern Ireland.

The protest was also attended by anti-abortion campaigners Precious Life.

Police had warned that pregnant women who take the abortion pills delivered by a pro-choice organisation’s ‘abortion robot’ could face charges.

The robot was part of the Bus4Choice run by social feminist organisation Rosa NI with the support of web-based abortion pills provider Women on Web and Women on Waves.

The group is holding protests across Northern Ireland on Thursday.

The women, who would not disclose their identity or whether they were pregnant, had intended to challenge the law by taking the pills outside the courthouse.

The pills were be delivered by a remote control robot.

A doctor was intending to counsel women remotely, as the robots were operated from the Netherlands in a bid to avoid breaking the law.

On Wednesday PSNI detective chief superintendent Tim Mairs said it would investigate any suspected criminal offences.

Eleanor Crossey Malone, from socialist feminist movement Rosa, was one of those who took the pill in front of television cameras.

She said: "I have taken this in defiance of the extremely outdated, medieval, anti-choice laws that exist in Northern Ireland.

"We are not willing in the wake of the repeal referendum to be left behind any longer.

"Northern Ireland after repeal will be one of only two jurisdictions remaining in Europe to criminalise women effectively for having abortions.

"We are not willing to accept it any more."

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