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16th June 2018, 16:23:33 UTC

Amnesty International has today welcomed Sinn Féin’s broadened policy on abortion, as voted on at its Ard Fheis. The policy reaffirms abortion as a health and human rights issue and states it should be available where a woman’s life, health or mental health is at risk and in cases of fatal foetal abnormality. It recognises that many women purchase pills online every day and states that for this and for reasons of sexual crime, abortion should be available without specific indication through a GP-led service.

“We welcome the adoption of this policy which reaffirms abortion as a healthcare and human rights issue. Following the abortion referendum, Sinn Féin and others must work to ensure that no woman on this island is left behind, including those in Northern Ireland who continue to live under one of the most restrictive regimes in Europe. Change is long overdue and must happen,” said Grainne Teggart, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Campaigns Manager.

“Our work will continue with Sinn Féin and other parties to ensure a framework which respects, protects and promotes the rights of women is established.”

“We welcome today’s vote in favour of access to abortion for women and girls in Ireland, which respects their health, human rights and autonomy. We also welcome the commitment to be guided by medical best practice when legislating for access to abortion on request within a limited gestational period. We look forward to engaging with Sinn Féin during the legislative process in the Oireachtas over the coming months,” said Sorcha Tunney, Amnesty International Ireland’s Campaigns Coordinator for ‘It’s Time’ campaign.

This weekend, Sinn Féin held its Ard Fheis to debate a range of motions. These included a motion to update the party’s abortion policy to enable Sinn Féin to support the draft legislation tabled by the Irish government following the successful referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution. Today’s motion ensures Sinn Féin TDs and senators are in a position to support the legislation’s call for access to abortion on request in early pregnancy. The adoption of this policy will also commit MLAs and MPs to support the same access for women in Northern Ireland when legislative opportunity arises.