Northern Irish abortion rights vote at Young Labour policy conference

Submitted by AWL on 16 October, 2017 - 11:00

At Young Labour policy conference on 14-15 October a motion was brought which called for the extension of the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland. (See document here p31.)

Some supporters of Workers′ Liberty, as well as others we were working with, voted against this motion - not because they oppose abortion rights in Northern Ireland, obviously, but for other reasons. However, they were wrong to do so.

Workers′ Liberty supports the extension of the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland to end the injustice which sees women in Northern Ireland not able to access abortion in the way women in the rest of the UK are able to. We have long and consistently held that position: see for instance this article from when the issue of extending the 1967 Act caused controversy under the last Labour government, in 2008.

We also argue and campaign for an increase in access to abortion and greater reproductive freedoms in all of the UK.

Women in the Republic of Ireland face even greater restrictions on abortion. The current referendum planned may repeal the 8th amendment to its constitution, which equates the life of a pregnant woman with that of an embryo or foetus. This would be progress, but would not immediately make abortion legal in the Republic. For more on the situation there, see here.