Why should Ireland legalize abortion?
Northern Ireland: Right to termination of pregnancy also for Northern Irish
In Northern Ireland, same-sex marriages and abortions will be possible in certain cases. Corresponding laws were passed by the British Parliament in London in July and are now coming into force. In doing so, they are aligning Northern Irish law with the rest of the UK, where same-sex marriage has been legal since 2014 and abortion since 1967.
According to the new laws, a pregnancy can be terminated up to the 24th week if it is the result of rape or incest relationship, poses a serious risk to the health of the pregnant woman or if the fetus is deformed. Under the last two conditions, pregnancies should also be able to be terminated later. Regulated access to abortions in Northern Ireland is to be made possible by the end of March, and detailed regulations on same-sex marriage are to be determined by mid-January.
Liberalizations are controversial in Northern Ireland. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which supports Boris Johnson's minority government as a partner of the Conservative Party in the British Parliament, had vehemently opposed any change. DUP boss Arlene Foster spoke of a "very sad day", the loosening of the law was an "affront to human dignity and human life". In the Northern Irish Assembly, the regional parliament of the British part of the state, the DUP tried to prevent the changes to the law on the day before the changes came into force, but could not find a majority. The human rights organization Amnesty International described the new regulations as "the beginning of a new era for Northern Ireland", the end of the previous "suppressive laws" is a historic moment.
Up until now, Northern Ireland had strict nineteenth-century laws governing abortion, which only allowed them if there was serious health risk to the pregnant woman. In Ireland, which is dominated by Catholicism, the ban on termination was relaxed in 2018, and same-sex marriage has been allowed since 2015.
After the changes in the law in Northern Ireland, Poland remains the only EU country with similarly strict rules for abortion. Same-sex marriages without legal restrictions are still not possible in some European countries, especially in southern and eastern Europe, only registered partnerships are possible.
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