Deciding A Woman's Right

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20160330

20160330

Northern Ireland is a place apart from the rest of the United Kingdom when it comes to the rights of women who don't want to continue with pregnancy.

Unlike England, Scotland and Wales, the 1967 Abortion Act does not apply. Abortion in Northern Ireland is illegal, except if there is a threat to a woman's life or health. The law is intended to be assisted by guidelines but these have been the subject of decades long debate and uncertainty and the publication of new guidance for medical staff has only recently been announced.

Since 1967 it's estimated that thousands of women have travelled to England for an abortion, including those who doctors have advised are pregnant with babies that are unlikely to survive.

In a historic judgement in 2015, which is being appealed, the High Court in Belfast found that the lack of the right to an abortion in these and other circumstances contravenes the European Convention on Human Rights.

In March 2016 the Northern Ireland Assembly voted against changing the law to allow abortion in cases of so-called fatal foetal abnormality but the number of votes in favour was taken by some to suggest that stances might be shifting.

Audrey Carville meets two women who both received devastating news about their pregnancies but took different decisions about how best to cope with the consequences, in an effort to illuminate the complexity and anguish at the heart of Northern Ireland's continuing abortion debate.

Producer - Regina Gallen.

20160330

Northern Ireland is a place apart from the rest of the United Kingdom when it comes to the rights of women who don't want to continue with pregnancy.

Unlike England, Scotland and Wales, the 1967 Abortion Act does not apply. Abortion in Northern Ireland is illegal, except if there is a threat to a woman's life or health. The law is intended to be assisted by guidelines but these have been the subject of decades long debate and uncertainty and the publication of new guidance for medical staff has only recently been announced.

Since 1967 it's estimated that thousands of women have travelled to England for an abortion, including those who doctors have advised are pregnant with babies that are unlikely to survive.

In a historic judgement in 2015, which is being appealed, the High Court in Belfast found that the lack of the right to an abortion in these and other circumstances contravenes the European Convention on Human Rights.

In March 2016 the Northern Ireland Assembly voted against changing the law to allow abortion in cases of so-called fatal foetal abnormality but the number of votes in favour was taken by some to suggest that stances might be shifting.

Audrey Carville meets two women who both received devastating news about their pregnancies but took different decisions about how best to cope with the consequences, in an effort to illuminate the complexity and anguish at the heart of Northern Ireland's continuing abortion debate.

Producer - Regina Gallen.