Over the past few weeks the PSNI has engaged in a campaign of harassment against pro-choice activists and the general public for allegedly obtaining the abortion pills from Women Help Women/Women on Web websites. This is a continuation of previous criminalisation attempts by the courts in order to inflict fear amongst people who have to resort to the abortion pills as their only available means to have control over their reproductive choices and life.
While the archaic laws in Ireland criminalise women or sends them to England, abortion pills from womenonweb.org and womenhelp.org serve as a lifeline for women accessing abortion across Ireland. The pills are on the World Health Organisation's Essential Medicines list and are used all across the world for safe, early medical abortions.While abortion remains illegal and the trip to England expensive, the very safe abortion pills, mifepristone and misoprostol, are a rescue from a nightmare for many people who find themselves in a crisis pregnancy.
The use of these pills is well-known practice, with a few mainstream media outlets covering the story and an open letter in June 2015 by 200 activists admitting to breaking the law by providing or procuring an abortion through the use of these pills.
It had appeared that while the authorities were aware of this practice they were indeed turning a blind eye to it with a few exceptions, namely the scapegoating of a 19-year-old student and a mother who procured pills for her teenage daughter.
The State are scared of the pills because they make an absolute mockery and joke of our laws. How much longer can they sit around pontificating about when women will be ready when safe abortions with pills are happening so regularly?
While the majority in society think that abortion should be decriminalised, this is not reflected by the politicians at Stormont who have allowed this intolerable situation to happen by presiding over the draconian law.
As it stands, 67,000 women a year die from unsafe abortions throughout the world. If we lose the choice, albeit the illegal choice, of the pills here we could see women returning to unsafe methods. The state is creating fertile land for pregnancy related deaths.
Earlier today, Monday 20th March, pro-choice activists and supporters of Alliance for Choice held several noisy protests outside PSNI headquaters in both Derry and Belfast in a respond to this new wave of attacks against women's rights in the six counties.