Belfast woman who took abortion pills tells police: ‘arrest me or change the law’
theguardian.com, 7 January 2016 by Henry McDonald Ireland correspondent
Suzanne Lee, unable to afford to travel to England for abortion in 2012, bought the medically tested pills online
A young Northern Irish woman who broke the law by taking medically tested abortion pills bought online has challenged the Police Service of Northern Ireland to arrest her and the Public Prosecution Service in the region to prosecute her.
Suzanne Lee from Belfast, who took the pills in August 2012 during her third year at university, said: “Either you arrest me and charge me, or you change this law.”
Lee said that as a student she could not afford around £1,000 to go to England for a termination.
“I didn’t really want to go to England anyway as I wanted to be around people who knew what I was going through. I didn’t want it in this kind of clinical setting where no one knew me – where I was just another number – so the best plan of action was to order the abortion pills off the net.”
Other women who bought the pills online have told the Guardian they have wiped out their internet search histories and deleted their text messages in case the data is used as evidence against them in court.
Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where the 1967 Abortion Act does not apply. Under a 19th-century law – the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 – anyone carrying out an abortion except under some extremely limited circumstances can be jailed for life.
The climate of fear among women who have procured pills from the Women on the Web NGO and WomenHelp.org has intensified due to the recent prosecution of a Northern Irish mother. She faces trial for procuring abortion pills for her underage daughter. Pro-choice activists believe someone reported her to the PSNI after she visited a local hospital for post-termination care.
The woman has been charged with procuring a poison or other noxious substance, in this case mifepristone and misoprostol, in the knowledge that they were to be used to cause a miscarriage.
Read full article: www.theguardian.com