People are celebrating as abortion and same-sex marriage get decriminalised in the north of Ireland

Sign in the north of Ireland saying Decriminalised
Afroze Fatima Zaidi

In a historic development, women in the north of Ireland now have legal access to abortion.

A nineteenth century law banning abortion, as well as legislation against same-sex marriage, has finally been repealed thanks to a bill voted through the Westminster parliament. The news has been welcomed by supporters of women’s rights and LGBTQI+ rights:

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Jeremy Corbyn described it as a “historic moment” and thanked campaigners for working towards this victory:

Labour MP Dawn Butler described it as “a landmark step forward”:

Women share their stories

The criminalisation of abortion has had a traumatising effect on women in the north of Ireland. Speaking to Channel 4 News, Denise Phelan described her experience of having to give birth to her stillborn baby five days after she had died in her womb:

I was too sick to travel so I was forced to carry on with the pregnancy and all the psychological issues and scars that brings with it, which is something that I’ll carry with me forever… she died at 36 weeks and 3 days, and I was forced to give birth to her decaying body, basically, because she had died 5 days before I could be induced.

People have also shared other stories about the draconian effects of the anti-abortion law, which point to why this change is so significant:

Much to celebrate

The decriminalisation of both abortion and same-sex marriage have given people much cause to celebrate:

People have welcomed this change which will make the law in the north of Ireland consistent with the rest of the UK. Amidst the gloom and doom around austerity, Brexit, and Boris Johnson’s flouting of democracy, we finally have some good news.

Featured image via YouTube – Channel 4 News

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