A week in which the Pope published his long-awaited Apostolic Exhortation on the family, the Church in Wales took its first tentative steps to accommodate its gay and lesbian members – but there were other things going on…
Abortion in Nothern Ireland
The Irish Times reports that on Monday a woman was given a three-month sentence of imprisonment suspended for two years after she pleaded guilty to charges of procuring her own abortion by using a poison and of supplying a poison with intent to procure a miscarriage. The woman, whose identity was protected by a court order, had bought the drugs on-line after contacting an abortion clinic in England for advice. Belfast Crown Court heard that she had told her housemates that she had wanted to travel to England for a termination but could not raise the money to do so.
According to the report, the Recorder of Belfast, HHJ McFarland, said that there were no guidelines or similar cases and that, in his experience, there had been no other prosecution under s 58 Offences Against the Person Act 1861 – which prescribes a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Acknowledging that as a UK citizen the defendant could legally have travelled to England for a termination, he said that the advice given by the clinic that she contacted “without knowledge of her background and details was perhaps inappropriate”.
The BBC website has a very helpful account of why the laws on abortion are different in Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
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