Abortion Remains Illegal in Northern Ireland
Women in Northern Ireland, although they are British citizens, cannot get an abortion. A mother has recently been on trial for obtaining abortion pills for her daughter. In Belfast, a woman who bought abortion drugs online has received a suspended sentence. Women who abort still face criminal charges and a possible prison sentence in Northern Ireland.
While in England, Scotland and Wales abortion can be carried out legally up to the 24th week of pregnancy, this law has never been enacted in Northern Ireland. There, abortion is only legal if a woman's health is at risk, but not if they are raped or the foetus shows mental or physical irregularities.
In the past Northern Irish women have been travelling to other parts of the U.K. in order to get an abortion. However, this can be expensive because the British National Health Service does not pay for Northern Irish residents. Poor women who can't afford to pay up to $3000 buy abortion pills on the internet.
In 2015, a high court judge in Northern Ireland ruled that abortion laws in the province are a violation of human rights. But, at the moment, politicians are unwilling to change the law. All across the UK pro-choice protesters have been demonstrating for equal rights for all British women.
Recent polls suggest that two-thirds of the voters in Northern Ireland support abortion, at least in certain cases.
Religion's influence in Northern Ireland is higher than in the rest of Britain, which may be why many people have very conservative thoughts about abortion.
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- abortion = the killing of an unborn baby
- afford = have the money to buys something
- although = while
- carry out = do a job
- citizen = a person who lives in a country and has rights there
- conservative = old fashioned; everything should stay the way it is
- criminal charges = when someone says that you have committed a crime
- enact = put into effect, to make a law
- equal rights = the same rights
- foetus = a baby that develops in a mother's body
- however = but
- human rights = the basic rights that everyone should have, like the right to speak freely or the right to vote
- influence = the power to have an effect on people or things
- irregularity = if something is not the way it should be
- judge = person who is in charge of a court and decides legal matters
- law = rules of a country
- legal = allowed by the law
- mental = about the mind or brain
- National Health Service = service in the UK that provides free and cheap medical help for everyone; it is paid for by taxes
- obtain = get, buy
- physical = about the body
- politician = person who has a position in the government or works for a political party
- poll = a study in which people are asked about their opinion on a certain topic
- pregnancy = time during which a woman carries a baby inside her body
- prison sentence = to go to prison for a certain time
- pro-choice = people who are in favor of letting women decide if they want to have an abortion or not
- rape = to force someone to have sex with you, even if you are unwilling to do so
- receive = get
- recently = a short time ago
- resident = a person who lives in an area
- rule = make a decision
- support = to be in favor of ....
- suspended sentence = a person will only go to prison if they commit the same crime again in a certain period of time
- trial = when a judge and a jury decide in court if a person is guilty of a committing a crime
- violation = an action that breaks the rules or a law