A huge crowd of people rallied outside Belfast's Public Prosecution Service on Thursday evening protesting the prosecution of a Northern Irish woman who bought abortion pills online when she was a teenager. The "Not a Criminal" protest, organised by abortion rights group Alliance for Choice and Belfast Feminist Network and supported by Amnesty International Northern Ireland, comes after the 21-year-old woman was handed a suspended prison sentence for breaking Northern Ireland's anti-abortion law. It also comes after a second woman appeared in court this week, charged with buying abortion pills for her daughter who was a minor at the time. One of hundreds of abortion rights campaigners who gathered in Belfast on Thursday night. Women in England, Scotland and Wales have access to free, safe, legal abortions, but 1967's Abortion Act, which makes abortion legal in Britain, does not extend to Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.
LEINSTER, IRELAND – A drone carrying abortion pills was flown into Northern Ireland on Tuesday by groups protesting the stringent anti-abortion regimes operating on both sides of the Irish border. The drone crossed from the Republic of Ireland near the village of Omeath over a narrow stretch of water that separates both states on the island. "Abortion is criminalized in both Northern Ireland and the Republic," Rita Harrold, from the abortion rights group Rosa, said in a statement. "We sent the pills across the border today as an act of solidarity with women in Northern Ireland who are currently facing prosecutions," she said. Although Northern Ireland is under British rule, its abortion laws are determined by the local Parliament, which has refused to extend the relatively liberal abortion rights in place across the rest of the United Kingdom.
Organisers of a pro-choice rally in Belfast have handed over abortion pills to the police. At the demonstration, three women took what appeared to be abortion pills. A mini-robot that can be used to distribute abortion pills was also handed over to police. The PSNI spoke to one of the women afterwards but she was not arrested. A small anti-abortion protest also took place alongside the demonstration at Laganside Courts on Thursday.
Accessing abortion has become increasingly difficult in parts of the US. As a result, a growing number of reproductive rights activists say it is time American women learn the facts about "self-managing abortion" with pills. Kate could tell something was wrong. She'd been feeling nauseous for days and her body just felt different. Kate, which is not her real name, bought a pregnancy test and took it in the store bathroom. "I probably lost all my colour," she recalls. Over the six-hour drive that followed, the young couple wrestled with the decision in front of them - to become parents or not.
Eleanor Crossey Malone, center, from the socialist feminist group Rosa, after claiming to have taken an abortion pill during a demonstration outside Belfast's Crown and High Courts, Northern Ireland Thursday May 31, 2018. Pro-choice campaigners have taken what they say are abortion pills outside a Belfast court as pressure grows to ease Northern Ireland's strict ban on terminating pregnancies. Northern Ireland is the only part of the U.K. in which abortion is illegal in all but exceptional cases. Last week the neighboring Republic of Ireland voted to remove a constitutional ban on abortions, making the north's position even more anomalous.