13 May 2008


the message below comes from pro-choice activists in Northern Ireland.

On Tuesday 20 May (NEXT TUESDAY) Members of Parliament will debate and vote on the anti-abortion amendments to the Human Embryology and Fertilisation Bill. The key amendments aim to lower the time limit for abortion and must be defeated. One of the amendments will also call for the Abortion Act to be finally extended to Northern Ireland. I probably don't need to tell you that if and when this kind of decision-making is given back to the DUP and Sinn Fein in Stormont, it quite simply won't be passed, so if we can't get the Abortion Act extended now, we may not get it in the near future at all. As the info below highlights, women in NI put themselves in all sorts of risks that women in the rest of the UK don't simply by not having abortion on demand. It's estimated that 40 women a week leave NI to have an abortion which identifies a clear need for the Act to be extended.

best wishes


Apologies for cross-posting

The news from London is that the government is trying to get the abortion amendments in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill voted on a lot sooner than anyone expected – perhaps as early as 20th May. For those of you who didn't know, there is likely to be an amendment that tries to extend the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland .

The Sec of State for NI, Shaun Woodward, has written to Gordon Brown to tell him that there is no support here for the extension of the Act. The Family Planning Association has produced thousands of postcards to Gordon Brown to tell him that is not true. If you phone 0845 122 8687, they will send you as many of postcards as you want to distribute among friends etc. Here in Derry , we are using them on street stalls and getting a good response.

But you don’t have to leave your computer to fight for this basic right for women. Send this email to everyone you know and ask them to write to the email addresses below (one email can be sent to all the addresses). Ask those MPs to support extension of the Abortion Act to NI and to ensure that 40 years after the NHS started providing abortions in Britain , women here finally get the right to choose.

It's vital to include your full name and postcode or they will ignore the email.



opikl@parliament.uk ,

harrise@parliament.uk ,








stuartg@parliament.uk ,

If you have time to email Gordon Brown also, you can do that at


Those of you are active in a trade union, especially UNISON, UNITE or NIPSA, get onto your union office and ask them to write to Shaun Woodward, Gordon Brown and Dawn Primarolo (Minister for Public Health) as soon as possible to inform them of the union support for extension of the Abortion Act to NI.

Among the things you might want to include in your email are:

Women in Northern Ireland have no right to abortion, even if they are pregnant as a result of rape or incest.

In NI, it’s one law for the rich another for the poor. Anyone who has the money can get an abortion. Approx 40 women a week leave NI for to end unwanted pregnancies. About half go to Britain , the rest to Europe where the procedure is considerably cheaper.

The difficulties of raising this money means women from NI having abortions in Britain are three times more likely than their British sisters to have an abortion after 20 weeks. If abortion was available on the NHS, as in Britain , most abortions would take place before 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Some women will try to cause an abortion themselves.11% of NI’s GPs say they have seen the results of amateur abortions.

There are women who will despair and kill, or try to kill, themselves. These are likely to be the poorest women who cannot get the money together to pay for an abortion.

It is not true that “no one here supports abortion rights”. All the larger trade unions: UNISON, UNITE and NIPSA have policies that support extension of the Act. Some politicians mutter that these are British unions “imposing” their views on us, this is nonsense. The policies were passed at Irish or NI regional conferences and NIPSA – the largest union in the region – organises only in NI.

Women here have the same kind of sex lives, same chance of an unwanted pregnancy and same attitude to abortion as women in Britain or the South of Ireland.
We stopped the fundamentalists when they tried to prevent civil partnership being brought into NI by this kind of email campaign. We can do the same now on abortion.

1 comment:

Adrian Windisch said...

I would email them via the www.theyworkforyou.com website, which score MPs on how responsive they are.

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