Northern Ireland

Abortion: Pro-choice protesters rally for NI law change

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Image caption Pro-choice campaigners are demanding a change to the law in Northern Ireland

Hundreds of people from across Ireland have joined a Belfast rally demanding abortion rights in Northern Ireland.

It follows the Republic of Ireland's historic vote to repeal the Eighth amendment and overturn its abortion ban.

Pro-choice campaigners for the group Solidarity with Repeal are demanding change in Northern Ireland.

People from Donegal and Drogheda joined the Belfast protest at city hall on Monday.

Up to 400 demonstrators took part. Many carried placards, some of which were critical of the DUP.

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Image caption People held up posters at the rally in the centre of Belfast

Shannon Patterson from Londonderry said: "It's time that Northern Ireland joins the rest of the world. It's time to progress.

"We're an all-Ireland movement, we're unstoppable."

Prime Minister Theresa May is facing calls to intervene, including from a woman whose experience brought the issue back before the courts.

Sarah Ewart went to England in 2013 for a termination after doctors said her unborn child would not survive outside of the womb.

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Image caption Sarah Ewart has been involved in a high-profile campaign to legalise abortion in NI in cases of fatal foetal abnormality

Such a diagnosis, known as fatal foetal abnormality, is not grounds for a legal abortion in Northern Ireland.

Ms Ewart has been involved in a high-profile campaign to legalise abortion in Northern Ireland in cases of fatal foetal abnormality.

However, Downing Street has indicated that Mrs May is unlikely to intervene.

DUP MP Sammy Wilson said this was a "sensitive matter" which must be decided by the people of Northern Ireland, not by the prime minister.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Hundreds took part in the Belfast rally calling for abortion rights

"Just because there are siren voices from liberals and the left wing at Westminster, she should not bow to that," he said.

"She should ask herself 'am I prepared to intervene in the whole range of issues that Stormont deals with and am I prepared to take on every sensitive issue?'

"If she is not, then it would be hypocritical of her to intervene in this matter."

Mr Wilson said he did not believe the government would intervene.

Meanwhile, the minister of health in the Republic of Ireland, Simon Harris, has confirmed that the legislation giving effect to Friday's referendum will be introduced in the Dáil before it breaks for its summer holidays.

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