Bernadette Smyth: conviction and restraining order quashed

Anti abortion campaigner Bernadette Smyth was cleared on appeal yesterday. She had initially been convicted of harassing Dawn Purvis at the end of last year. At the original trail the judge Chris Holmes made a number of interesting comments. He stated: “I want to make it absolutely clear that I do not feel it’s appropriate for anyone to be stopped outside this clinic in any form, shape or fashion and questioned either to their identity, why they are going in …

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Briefing about NI Barriers to Accessing Abortion Services launched by Amnesty #MyBodyMyRights

The law governing abortion in Northern Ireland is one of the most restrictive in Europe both in law and in practice … It also carries the harshest criminal penalty in abortion regulation in Europe – life imprisonment for the women undergoing the abortion and for anyone assisting her. A snippet from the executive summary of an Amnesty briefing report launched this morning that looks at Northern Ireland Barriers To Accessing Abortion Services. (Belfast Bar Man mentioned the launch in his …

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Men Only: Stormont ‘all party’ Pro Life group revealed

Social media was ablaze last night with the news of an ‘all party’ ALL MALE ‘Pro-Life’ group at Stormont. Chaired by the SDLP’s Pat Ramsey, the group also includes Jim Wells (DUP), Jonathan Craig (DUP), Alban Maginness (SDLP), Mervyn Storey (DUP), Jim Allister (TUV), Mark H Durkan (SDLP), David McIlveen (DUP), Kieran McCarthy (Alliance) and Danny Kennedy (UUP). Despite having no female representation the group give their main point of contact as Bernie Smyth, currently involved in a court case …

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Sinn Fein steps in at the last minute to call an end to the Stopes farce…

So it falls to Sinn Fein, alone of all the major parties to do the right thing on an amendment to Stormont’s Criminal Justice Bill, which as Philip Bradfield notes “would effectively forbid abortions from being carried out in Northern Ireland, except within the National Health Service (NHS)”. They alone have the power to raise a petition of concern to effectively block the move in the legislative Assembly. It certainly would have suited the SDLP if Sinn Fein had ‘come …

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Service not available in Northern Ireland

Channel  4’s decision not to broadcast the Marie Stopes ‘Are you late?’ TV advert in Northern Ireland raises questions about what information it is criminal to distribute here.  The Chief Executive of Marie Stopes International told the Guardian that ‘the advertising of abortion facilities, their contact numbers or addresses is against the law in Northern Ireland.’ The fact that the advert in question does not contain the word ‘abortion’, and is for an organisation that provides a wide range of …

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