New Research Brief on Northern Ireland’s Abortion Laws

Tue, October 23, 2018
New Research Brief on Northern Ireland’s Abortion Laws
Brief by Abigail R.A. Aiken, Elisa Padron, Kathleen Broussard, and Dana Johnson.

Northern Irish abortion law is currently in the international spotlight, now that the Republic of Ireland recently repealed its constitutional amendment prohibiting abortion, and the Isle of Man passed a bill to legalize abortion.

The United Kingdom’s 1967 Abortion Act made legal abortion widely available in England, Scotland, and Wales. However, the Abortion Act was not adopted in Northern Ireland, where abortion is permitted only to preserve a pregnant woman’s life or to prevent permanent damage to physical or mental health. In addition, providing or having an abortion outside the law is a criminal offense in the UK and carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. However, healthcare professionals in Northern Ireland are not required to report women they suspect have self-managed an abortion.


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