Belfast Telegraph

Yes: Now the fight begins to bring abortion laws into line with UK

By Emma Campbell

Alliance for Choice are thrilled to hear that the people of Ireland have voted YES!

This historic result has shown that Ireland wants change and no longer sees the constitution as the right place to control women and pregnant people's healthcare. Ireland has said it believes its abortion seekers should be cared for by Ireland in Ireland and with dignity.

We are proud to have played a small part in solidarity campaigning with our friends in Ireland, and we will continue with that solidarity until it is no longer needed. We also gratefully acknowledge the offers we have already had, in solidarity from the South, to work towards the change that is still so urgently needed in Northern Ireland.

As of now, people in Northern Ireland will still have to travel for access, women (those that can) travel today, families travelled yesterday, more will travel tomorrow and face having to bleed it out on a plane home. Or more are self-administering pills at home and too scared of arrest to seek medical attention if a problem arises.

We know that the parties that represent the strongest No vote for Ulster are not representing their supporters.

An Amnesty International survey in 2016 of 1,000 people suggested 73% of DUP supporters back access to abortion for rape or incest. In clear contrast to the party, who have 0% support for that. It suggested 69% of SDLP voters feel the same way, despite the SDLP re-affirming their 'Pro Life' position in the shadow of abortion becoming a vote of conscience for party members.

People in Northern Ireland are not voting for the DUP or SDLP because of their stance on abortion or gay marriage, they vote for them despite their stance on social issues.

The DUP have stated that we do not want to be bullied into accepting abortion in Northern Ireland, but the thousands of people who have travelled for abortions and the thousands more who self-aborted at home, and their friends and families do not agree and have never been asked.

Protestant and Catholic people in Northern Ireland have abortions at the same rate and when left to the assembly they have dodged and swayed and blocked the question.

We do not want or need a referendum, it is constitutionally unnecessary and it wouldn't be legally binding if our assembly deigned to return to Stormont. It also expects that people who have been through these circumstances must open up their private lives for scrutiny and turns human rights into a popularity contest.

Human Rights are enshrined in International Treaties in order to protect from this kind of populism.

This is why we need Westminster to do its job and support the people, not the politicians of Northern Ireland in enacting access to abortion healthcare now.

Thanks to champions such as Stella Creasy and Rupa Huq in the Labour Party, Justine Greening and Penny Mordaunt in the Conservatives, and the Liberal Democrats and Green parties, we know that Westminster can make this happen for Northern Ireland.

It's not just Alliance for Choice saying this, it's poll after poll, survey after survey.

Let's keep this momentum for change from the bottom up happening.

We are fighting fit and ready.

Belfast Telegraph

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