Jesurgislac’s Journal

December 8, 2009

For the sake of fairness

Abortion is legal in mainland UK with the consent of two doctors.

Abortion is not legal in Northern Ireland – the 1967 Act which made abortion legal did not cover Northern Ireland, and changes in the law (and changes in the political independence of the constituent countries of the United Kingdom) mean that abortion is likely to remain illegal in Northern Ireland for the foreseeable future: the politicians in the Stormont Assembly have, whether Protestant or Catholic, a united front when it comes to acknowledging that women’s rights are human rights.

So, women living in Northern Ireland who need an abortion do the same as women living in the Republic of Ireland do: they make the trip to the mainland, London or Liverpool or Glasgow, have their abortion, and travel back – a quick, relatively cheap trip, if travel and accommodation costs were all. A normal uncomplicated early abortion can take place within two days, and must, when a woman is compelled to travel to get one.

A woman from Northern Ireland is a UK citizen. She pays the same taxes for the NHS as she would if she were living anywhere else in the UK. But when she needs an abortion, she cannot get one on the NHS, as she could if she lived anywhere else in the UK. She is required to go private – to find somehow £1500 or more,, on top of what it costs her to travel to the mainland and stay overnight.

It is unjust that women living in Northern Ireland are not allowed to make use of the NHS to have an abortion. It is not fair, it is not right, and it should be changed.

If you are a UK citizen, please sign the petition to the Prime Minister to let him know that women in Northern Ireland deserve the same access to full NHS services as women anywhere else in the UK.

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5 Comments »

  1. If the people of Northern Ireland want abortion to be legal there, then they should take steps to make it so. The same with the people of the Republic of Ireland.

    If they do not want it to be legal, then they have the inherent right to keep it illegal.

    Individuals in either ocuntry who want abortion to be legal should consider moving to countries where it is. (It should be very easy for people in Northern Ireland to move to Scotland, England, or Wales. It’s probably not much harder for the people of the Republic of Ireland to do so, I’m guessing.)

    Comment by renaissanceguy — December 12, 2009 @ 11:09 am | Reply

  2. You don’t have much reading comprehension, do you?

    This is not about changing the law in Northern Ireland to ensure that women don’t have to travel to mainland UK when they need an abortion: this is about the simple fairness of ensuring that when a woman in Northern Ireland needs an abortion, she gets the abortion on the NHS, even if she has to travel to mainland UK to do so.

    Obviously I think the law in Northern Ireland (and in the Republic of Ireland) requiring women who need abortions to travel across to mainland UK (or to the Netherlands or Belgium) to get the healthcare they need, is both stupid and wrong, and ought to be changed. But that’s a separate campaign. Women in Northern Ireland pay for the NHS at the same rate everyone else does: they’re entitled in simple fairness to the same range of services.

    Comment by jesurgislac — December 12, 2009 @ 7:13 pm | Reply

  3. This is an interesting situation. I did not know it existed. I have a couple questions if you don’t mind. Are the tax dollars of the residents of Northern Ireland being used to fund the abortions of mainlanders. If so (and I am against abortion) this is not right and should be remedied. If their tax dollars are not being used I am of the opinion that they are not being “harmed” by the situation.

    Comment by Jay Burns — December 14, 2009 @ 4:23 am | Reply

    • Are the tax dollars of the residents of Northern Ireland being used to fund the abortions of mainlanders.

      “Tax dollars”? We don’t use dollars in the UK. We use pounds, and occasionally euros. But, to answer your rather confused question: Abortion on the NHS is something of a postcode lottery. In all areas of the UK apart from Northern Ireland, a woman who needs an abortion can get it on the NHS between 60% and 90% of the time*. While Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, are partly devolved, income tax and VAT (sales tax) are regulated by the UK-wide government, and the NHS is of course entirely funded by tax – free at point of use. So yes: residents of Northern Ireland pay their taxes to the UK government: those taxes are partly used to fund the NHS, and the NHS pays for the vast majority of all abortions that take place in the UK. Provision of abortion in the UK has its flaws, but there’s no suggestion that anyone should do anything as bureaucratically time-consuming and silly as trying to ring-fence off taxation from Northern Ireland to ensure no part of it is used to fund the NHS, or to ring-fence off NHS funding to ensure it isn’t used to fund abortions.

      *The reasons for the shortfall are complicated and irrelevant to the topic under discussion.

      . If so (and I am against abortion) this is not right and should be remedied.

      Excellent. Nice to know even an anti-choicer recognises the injustice of paying for the NHS but being unable to use the full range of the services.

      . If their tax [] are not being used I am of the opinion that they are not being “harmed” by the situation.

      Well, that’s very foolish of you: obviously they’re being harmed, they have to travel and spend two days on the mainland in order to get an abortion when they need one!

      Comment by jesurgislac — December 14, 2009 @ 9:42 am | Reply

      • Okay, So I was short sighted in saying dollars. I hardly think that slip causes the whole question to become “rather confused”. I’d like to respond to your points one at a time.

        “there’s no suggestion that anyone should do anything as bureaucratically time-consuming and silly as trying to ring-fence off taxation from Northern Ireland to ensure no part of it is used to fund the NHS, or to ring-fence off NHS funding to ensure it isn’t used to fund abortions. ”

        And I wouldn’t suggest that either. If something is provided free to the public based on their tax dollars. It should be provided free to all who pay the tax. Period.

        “Well, that’s very foolish of you: obviously they’re being harmed, they have to travel and spend two days on the mainland in order to get an abortion when they need one!”

        My point here was in the situation of their tax dollars NOT being used to fund these abortions. So, in that situation it wouldn’t be as though they are paying for something to which they do not have access. It would be like saying they are being harmed because they have to travel to the mainland to purchase any product or service not available in Northern Ireland. Just because they don’t sell bananas in Northern Ireland doesn’t mean residents there are being harmed.

        Comment by Jay Burns — December 14, 2009 @ 4:42 pm


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