Clare Bailey MLA to submit 45,000 signature abortion petition

Green Party Deputy Leader, Clare Bailey MLA, will today (22nd November 2016) submit a 45,000 strong petition gathered by Amnesty International to the Northern Ireland Assembly calling for a change to Northern Ireland’s restrictive abortion laws.

Speaking ahead of her appearance in the Assembly chamber, Clare Bailey MLA said: “Northern Ireland’s abortion laws are in breach of minimum human rights standards; they have been found to be so by the courts. Everyone is well aware of this, and therefore it is a shameful indictment on the Assembly that I even have to bring this petition forward.

“Over 45,000 have put their name to this petition. Over 70% of people in Northern Ireland want to see abortion laws changed. Despite this overwhelming endorsement of change; when the issue was brought before the Assembly in February, just fifty-nine MLAs blocked even the most minimal of reforms.

“People who stand in the way of change on this issue are out of line with public opinion, and they are out of line with human rights. That is the message that I will be giving to them in the Assembly today.

“The fact that, in response to a Scottish Green Party question, we now have the First Minister of Scotland saying that she will look into allowing Northern Irish women to access abortions free of charge in Scotland further shows how ridiculous the law is here.

“I welcome Nicola Sturgeon’s intervention, but also hope that her response is ultimately unnecessary, and that we can change the laws here so that women do not need to travel in order to access healthcare.”


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