Alliance for Choice Derry have led a local grassroots campaign to decriminalise abortion in Northern Ireland since 1994. With decriminalisation on the horizon this October, a large convoy of supporters will attend the Rally for Choice in Belfast this Saturday 7th September.
Backed by Belfast City Council, Derry City and Strabane District Council as well as Doctors for Choice Northern Ireland, Unite the Union, NUS-USI and representatives and groups from wider civic society, the Rally for Choice will demonstrate the public appetite and support for the decriminalisation of abortion and provision of free, safe, legal and local healthcare for pregnant people.
In 2018, the Northern Ireland Life & times Survey asked the general public the following questions: do you agree that “abortion should be a matter for medical regulation and not criminal law” – 82% of respondents agreed. Similarly in 2018, 89% of the general public asserted their belief that “a woman should never go to prison for having an abortion”.
As a collective voice for the pro-choice majority in Derry City and the north-west, Alliance for Choice Derry has members from both urban and rural areas – demonstrating the widespread support for decriminalisation in Northern Ireland.
Alliance for Choice Derry member Dr. Maeve O’Brien states, “we stand with and trust women to make their own decisions about their bodies – free from shame and stigma. From Derry City to Omagh to Enniskillen it is important to remember that abortion happens in Northern Ireland - but from October 2019, finally plans will be put in place to ensure that women can avail of healthcare in their own communities instead of bearing the additional - and costly - burden of being forced to travel”.