- 07 Dec 22
Alliance for Choice Belfast welcomed the decision by the Supreme Court, heralding Claire Bailey for consistently bringing the issue further to light.
The UK Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday the Abortion (Safe Access Zones Northern Ireland) Bill was within the legislative competence of Stormont, concluding the bill does not “disproportionately interfere” with protesters’ rights.
The bill provides for measures to restrict anti-abortion campaigners from protesting outside hospitals or clinics where abortions take place.
The Court’s judgment found that the Northern Ireland bill did not impact on the right to free expression or protest, as laid down in the European Convention on Human Rights.
Alliance for Choice Belfast welcomed the decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the NI Safe Access Zones Bill and commended Claire Bailey for bringing the matter forward.
"It is wrong entirely that any woman or worker should be forced to run the gauntlet of anti-choice harassment for accessing healthcare," the Belfast organisation said in a post. "For far too long these behaviours have been ignored or treated as 'the other side of the debate'. A woman's body does not become 'a debate' simply because she has decided that she needs an abortion. Anyone person who avails of, or healthcare professional who provides an abortion, should be able to do so in an environment which is private, safe, dignified and free form interference."
Alliance for Choice Belfast welcome the decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the NI Safe Access Zones Bill and commend @ClurBailey Claire Bailey for bringing the matter forward. pic.twitter.com/XB6VJFq8EK
— Amanda Ferguson (@AmandaFBelfast) December 7, 2022
The legislative move makes the passage of a similar law in Scotland potentially easier. Gillian Mackay proposed the Abortion Services Safe Access Zones (Scotland) Bill earlier this year to prevent protest outside abortion clinics in Scotland.
The Scottish Green MSP welcomed a judgment allowing similar legislation in Northern Ireland, calling it a "historic day".
While the Scottish Government has backed the principles of the legislation, there were concerns about its legalities and how it would impact on free speech.
After the judgment was handed down, Ms Mackay said: “This is a very welcome decision, and a truly historic day for reproductive rights. It will provide vital and much-needed protections.
“Abortion rights are healthcare, and this sets a crucial precedent for the introduction of my Bill to introduce buffer zones in Scotland," she said in a statement. "The 12,000 responses that I received for my consultation show the strength of feeling. All over the world, anti-choice activists are trying to crack down on abortion rights.
“We can’t stand still, and must always be looking to entrench and expand those rights. Nobody should be obstructed or harassed when accessing healthcare yet, all across Scotland, people are being forced to endure a gauntlet of graphic images and abuse when accessing abortion services.
“This is totally wrong and I look forward to the day when my Bill will end such shameful scenes for good.”
Judgment has been handed down this morning in the case UKSC 2022/0077 - Reference by the Attorney General for Northern Ireland - Abortion Services (Safe Access Zones) (Northern Ireland) Bill https://t.co/zCjtwJL3Tq pic.twitter.com/nKV0Mqi6k5
— UK Supreme Court (@UKSupremeCourt) December 7, 2022
- Lifestyle & Sports
- 14 May 22