Three Northern Ireland abortion activists turned themselves into a police station on Monday evening in a publicity stunt meant to challenge the pro-life country’s abortion laws.
Northern Ireland recognizes that unborn babies deserve a right to life and only allows abortions when the mother’s life is at stake; aborting an unborn baby for any other reason is a crime. However, abortion activists have been putting intense pressure on the country to legalize abortion.
Monday’s event was their latest attempt. Diana King, a 71-year-old retired social worker and abortion advocate, turned herself into police on Monday along with Colette Devlin, 68, and Kitty O’Kane, 69, The Guardian reports. The women said they broke the law and had abortion pills delivered to their homes for other women who wanted abortions but were too afraid to get them on their own, Vice reports.
“It is unforgivable how women are being treated. I am handing myself in to the police to inform them that I have procured the nine-week abortion pills on several occasions,” King said before going into the police station. “We know that going to jail is a possibility, but we will be saying that we don’t think that we have done anything wrong.”
She told reporters that she would challenge the country’s abortion laws, arguing that abortion drugs are not “poisonous substances” but “essential medicines,” as the World Health Organization claims.
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Another mark of what clearly was a publicity stunt, abortion advocates held a protest and press conference outside the police station before the three women went inside, according to the report.
East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell called out the pro-abortion stunt in an interview with the Londonderry Sentinel.
“We are unashamedly a pro-life party and we will not be changing our support for the retention of innocent life,” Campbell said. “There is nothing more innocent than an unborn child but that is not to minimize the difficulty faced by some women in some circumstances. I don’t think routinely breaking the law is an appropriate way to campaign for a change in legislation.”
Here is more from The Guardian:
Over 200 campaigners last year signed an open letter, declaring that they had procured the tablets for themselves or other women, and that they were all willing to be arrested. There has been no move to arrest them, which is why King, along with Devlin and O’Kane, who are both retired teachers, decided to take the proactive step of turning up at the police station. The three women put themselves forward ahead of younger women, because they no longer have jobs that might be affected by a criminal record.
… King said she expected that the police would send a report to the director of public prosecutions for Northern Ireland, and a decision would be taken at a later stage over whether to prosecute.
The abortion advocates claimed the pro-life law disproportionately affects poor women. King said rich women can travel to England or Wales for abortions, while poor women who want abortions risk being caught with less expensive but illegal abortion pills.
However, government data indicates that fewer women appear to be aborting their unborn babies in Ireland. Cora Sherlock, writing for LifeNews, recently reported that the number of Irish women traveling to England for abortions has been declining for the past 14 years, according to government statistics. She attributed the decline to the work of pro-life groups and post-abortive women who speak out about their painful experiences and their aborted babies.
“Of course, pro-choice campaigners will not entertain this suggestion for a second but then they never acknowledge the heartbreaking stories of abortion regret, something which leaves many women feeling alone and abandoned when they discover that abortion is not the ‘solution’ is was made out to be,” Sherlock said.
She also rebutted abortion activists’ claims that easier access to the abortion pill is the reason for the decline. Sherlock said the decline began before the abortion pill was readily available online.
King and her fellow abortion activists are pushing abortion as a solution for women in poverty, rather than providing help to both women and their babies. Sherlock said the country should be tackling the reasons why women resort to the tragedy of abortion.
“Addressing issues like accommodation, financial assistance, childcare provision and other supports are all things that the newly formed Government can do to help the figures fall still further and ensure that more and more women feel able to give birth to their baby in a society that welcomes them both,” Sherlock said.