August 1st 2008
UN committee urges abortion law reform - GERRY MORIARTY
A UNITED Nations committee has indicated support for extending the 1967 British abortion act to Northern Ireland, a suggestion that all the main Northern parties oppose.
The UN Committee for the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw) said there should be a debate in Northern Ireland on removing "punitive provisions" on women who want to have an abortion in the North.
"The committee reiterates its call to the state party to initiate a process of public consultation in Northern Ireland on the abortion law," it said.
"The committee also urges the state party to give consideration to the amendment of the abortion law so as to remove punitive provisions imposed on women who undergo abortion," it said.
The North's department of health is currently holding a consultation process to clarify in what circumstances abortions can take place in Northern Ireland.
The Alliance for Choice group in the North yesterday called on trade unions, women's groups and community organisations to unite behind a campaign to extend the 1967 act.