Solidarity protests spread after Belfast woman charged for helping her daughter procure an abortion

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News broke on the 19th June that a Belfast woman is to stand trial for helping her daughter procure an abortion.  In response on 24th June  a letter was handed in signed by 215 abortion activists admitting that they are guilty of breaking the law by either taking or helping someone procure the Early Medical Abortion (EMA) pill.

Alliance for Choice Belfast has organised this action in solidarity with the woman charged. A similar action occurred in 2013 when 100 people signed a letter admitting to doing the same thing this woman has done and not a single person who signed the letter was contacted by police.

Instead of waiting for the police to come to the signatories this time round their job will be made easier by the 215 signatories handing themselves into police stations until the charges are dropped.

The logic behind this is quite simple; if you touch one, you touch all.

Abortion law in the north of Ireland is much like the current state in the south; illegal except in certain circumstances.

This case is proof that banning abortion simply does not work. There is no such thing as "no abortion" merely safe and unsafe abortions. This woman facing jail time is just one of the consequences of the misogynistic ban.

Abortions here happen regularly; it is no secret that abortion pills can be obtained through organisations such as Women on Web and Women Help Women. This is very clearly a scare tactic being used by the state to try and stop these illegal abortions from happening.

In mid July Pro-choice campaigners in the north picketed two of the largest police stations to challenge the authorities to arrest them for breaking the law by procuring abortion pills. This was in “an act of solidarity” with woman who is being prosecuted for obtaining abortion medication for her pregnant underage daughter.

With the abortion law up north being challenged in two different legal cases and the UN announcing that Ireland must have a referendum on abortion we cannot help but feel an air of hope that women in Ireland will have a choice over their bodies and that the nightmare of having to travel or illegally take pills will no longer be the only options available.

Times are changing, what once looked like a fantasy now has the potential to become a reality. The pro-choice movement has become more confident, more assertive and most importantly has gained a massive amount of support.

This Wednesday protests will take place in Belfast, Galway and Dublin in solidarity with the women being prosecuted and the 215 who have signed the letter.  The Dublin protest will take place at 6pm at the Spire.

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