Socialist Worker

Abortion rights - defend a woman’s right to choose

Issue No. 2627

Pro-choice campaigners protesting in London in May

Pro-choice campaigners protesting in London in May (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Parliament was set to debate abortion law in Northern Ireland as Socialist Worker went to press on Tuesday.

Labour MP Diana Johnson introduced a bill calling for the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act to be repealed.

The Act has been superseded by other laws in Britain but remains in force in Northern Ireland.

It effectively criminalises any woman seeking an abortion—forcing women to travel abroad to have terminations. Other amendments to the Northern Ireland bill, set to be debated on Wednesday, ask the government to “make provision” for repealing the 1861 Act.

But the Tories will oppose extending abortion rights. Theresa May clings onto office with the help of the bigots of the Democratic Unionist Party.

It’s a disgrace that women in Northern Ireland are criminalised for trying to control their own bodies. The 1967 Abortion Act, which makes abortion legal in some circumstances, has never been extended to Northern Ireland.

Anti-abortionists try to dress up their bigotry by posing as democrats. They argue the government shouldn’t “impose” abortion rights on Northern Ireland. But it isn’t progressive to insist that some women have fewer rights than others.

Abortion rights should be extended to Northern Ireland.

And we should fight for an end to all restrictions on abortion.


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