On 22 July, LGBT marriage and abortion is now legal through legislation passed in UK parliament, soon to become law for Northern Ireland.
Landmark legislation on abortion and equal marriage in Northern Ireland has passed its final stage in the UK Parliament.
Amnesty International – which has been working closely with MPs and peers and campaigning on both issues for many years – heralded the Westminster move as “historic”.
The abortion and equal marriage commitments in the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill will now become law by 21 October this year, unless the Northern Ireland Executive has been re-established by that date.
The deadline for the new same-sex marriage law to come into force is January 2020, and the date by which full abortion regulations must be implemented is March 2020, with some elements happening sooner. Abortion will be decriminalised and women currently facing criminal trial will have their prosecutions dropped from 22 October this year.
Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland director of Amnesty International, said:
“This is a historic day for human rights.
“Nowhere on these islands have people had to fight longer and harder for their human rights than in Northern Ireland.
“Future generations in Northern Ireland will no longer have to suffer inequality in the way so many have had to endure in the past.
“Now, Amnesty’s attention will focus on ensuring the speedy implementation of access to healthcare and marriage for people in Northern Ireland.”
Abortion reform a ‘giant step forward’
The Bill delivers long-awaited abortion law reform, including decriminalisation. This will stop women being prosecuted for accessing abortion and introduce a suspension for current cases.
Grainne Teggart, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland campaign manager, said:
“Today is a momentous win for women’s rights. Northern Ireland’s 158-year-long abortion ban has finally been brought to an end. Read more