Northern Irish women hand themselves into police after procuring abortion pills

Demonstrators cheered the women as they walked into a Derry station

Northern Irish women hand themselves into police after procuring abortion pills

File photo: Pro-choice activists hold a candlelit vigil for Savita Halappanavar outside Belfast City Hall in November 2012 | PA Images

Three women who say they have procured abortion pills handed themselves into police yesterday evening in protest at Northern Ireland's strict abortion laws. 

The women, reportedly aged between 68 and 71, were released after walking into a Derry police station.

Demonstrators gathered outside the station cheered the Alliance for Choice activists as they prepared to turn themselves in.

Terminations can only be carried out in Northern Ireland when there is a serious risk to a mother’s health or life. Abortion is banned in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities, rape or incest.

Over 800 women travelled from the North to England and Wales last year for the procedure.

Last month, a young woman who bought pills online to induce a miscarriage was handed a suspended sentence by a Belfast court.

The now 21-year-old woman said she was unable to raise enough money to travel to England for an abortion.

Alliance for Choice said yesterday's protest was organised to “demand change to the completely out-of-date” legislation.

“Keeping abortion illegal doesn’t stop abortions – it only means there is one law for the rich, another for the poor,” the group said.

A spokesperson for the PSNI told that “police inquiries into the matter” will continue.

“Three females attended Strand Road police station last night in connection with the procurement of abortion pills, contrary to section 58 of the Offences Against the Person Act,” the spokesperson confirmed.