While women of Ireland just celebrated a monumental abortion rights victory on May 25th, when the country repealed an amendment which banned essentially all abortions, the women of Northern Ireland are still in the midst of a critical fight.
Northern Ireland — a distinct and separate nation from Ireland and a member of the United Kingdom — is one of only two nations in Europe that still outlaws abortion. And next week, the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court will vote on whether or not this ban is compatible with human rights.
On Thursday, May 31st, protesters stood outside the highest court in Belfast, the country’s capital, and took what they claimed were abortion pills, also known as a medication abortion, which is technically illegal in Northern Ireland. Police officers reportedly attempted to drag one of the women who took the pill away, but ultimately gave up after a group of fellow protestors surrounded her and a commanding officer called them off.
Fortunately, no legal action could be taken against the activists since it cannot be determined if they were pregnant when they ingested the medication, nor can it be confirmed that the pills were actually the abortion pill. Some of the women also dressed in red “Handmaids” robes as they protested.
According to TheGuardian.com, one of the protestors, a woman named Eleanor Crossey Malone, told television cameras that,
The right to legal and safe abortions is critical for the health, safety, and basic dignity of women everywhere, and we stand with all those protesting in Northern Ireland. We’ll be closely monitoring the outcome of next week’s vote.