This Abortion Story Will Enrage You

Save your Trump criticism for the injustice on our doorstep


“Anyone carrying out an abortion… except under some extremely limited circumstances, can be jailed for life.”

A line from Suffragette?

You’d think so - but no, this is law today in the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland to be precise.


The laws on abortion in Northern Ireland are different to the those in England, Scotland and Wales. News came only yesterday that a 19-year-old woman in Northern Ireland was charged after buying a pill online to induce an abortion. She was given a suspended prison sentence, after her housemates contacted the police.

Why, in the UK in the 21st Century, is a woman having to revert to buying, as described in court, 'poison' online to access vital healthcare and make a choice about her future? Not only is that extremely unsafe and clearly unregulated, it is also so deeply unfair that a stretch of the Irish sea can separate a woman who is able to choose in England, with a young woman essentially now a criminal for attempting to do the same.


But this is no exception, or perversion of justice in Northern Ireland. It’s the norm. It’s what can happen to women finding themselves in the same situation as this 19 year old, day in and day out.

We are, rightly, outraged at Donald Trump for his sickening suggestion that women should be “punished” if they exercise their right to choose. Even Trump accepted the need to row back from his statement and clarify what he - apparently - meant.

Yet that same horrifying suggestion is actually reality in our United Kingdom. It’s time for us to finally embody the sense of that name and stand together with women across the water. For too long we’ve been silent and for too long they’ve suffered.

Maybe finding yourself more extreme than Donald Trump on an issue is a much needed wake up call.

Words by ELLE Politics Editor Ellie Gellard

Read Next: