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Mum faces court over termination pills for young daughter

By Deborah McAleese ·

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Patrick Corrigan

A mother who allegedly bought abortion pills online to terminate her under-age daughter's pregnancy is facing criminal charges.

The 35-year-old Belfast woman is accused of supplying poison in July 2013 with the intent to procure a miscarriage. She was due to be arraigned at Belfast Crown Court yesterday, but the case was adjourned until later this month.

It is understood her legal team intend to ask for a review of the Public Prosecution Service's decision to take the case.

It comes just days after a 21-year-old woman received a suspended sentence after admitting self-terminating a pregnancy with drugs purchased online.

Both cases have reignited furious debate over Northern Ireland's abortion laws, which differ from elsewhere in the UK. Abortion is only permitted here if a woman's life is at risk or there is a permanent or serious risk to her mental or physical health.

Amnesty International described yesterday's case as yet another "grotesque spectacle of the might of the justice system lined up against a woman who wanted to access a service available in every other part of the UK".

The group's Northern Ireland director Patrick Corrigan insisted reproductive healthcare "must be taken out of the realm of criminal justice and addressed as an issue of public health and human rights".

"Northern Ireland's abortion law must be changed to bring it into line with international standards," Mr Corrigan said.

"Abortion must be decriminalised, and women should be able to access free and legal abortions in cases of fatal foetal abnormality, rape and incest."

Mr Corrigan also warned that the criminalisation of abortion meant that women and girls were driven to take medication bought online without proper medical supervision, a situation that could potentially trigger serious complications.

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Patrick Corrigan