These Projections Spotlight The Neglect Of Women In Northern Ireland

Photo: Amnesty International / Simon Graham.
A year ago this weekend, the people of Ireland voted to repeal the country's strict abortion laws in a landslide victory for pro-choice campaigners.
But a year on, Northern Ireland's abortion laws remain incredibly strict, putting the province out of step with the rest of the UK, and the country with which it shares a border.
In fact, abortions are only legal in Northern Ireland if the life or mental health of the mother is at risk. Though women in Northern Ireland have had the right to access free abortion treatment in mainland Britain since June 2017, they still have to incur the cost and emotional trauma of travelling across the Irish Sea to have the procedure.
To highlight this injustice, Amnesty International UK asked Irish artist Maser to rework his iconic Repeal the 8th artwork used in the Irish referendum to say 'Now for Northern Ireland'.
The reworked artwork was then projected onto buildings in four key locations in the UK and Ireland: the Mac building in Belfast, the Mary Barbour statue in Glasgow, the Northern Ireland Office in Westminster and the Project Art Centre in Dublin, where Maser painted the original repeal mural.
While Northern Ireland's own parliament remains hobbled by a political deadlock, Theresa May or whoever succeeds her has the power to instigate change in the province that could modernise its outdated abortion laws and its same-sex marriage ban.
Grainne Teggart of Amnesty International UK said of the 'Now for Northern Ireland' projections: "After Ireland’s vote there was so much hope that the UK Government would then act to change things in the North, but a year later we’re still waiting. These projections shine a spotlight on the unjustifiable neglect of people in Northern Ireland.
“Whilst dangerous roll-backs on reproductive rights are happening across US states, we must remember that our own Government is forcing its own citizens to live with these cruel laws. It’s time for the Government to end the harm and hurt caused by our inhumane and discriminatory near-total abortion ban.”
Alliance for Choice, which campaigns for abortion rights in Northern Ireland, has also used the one-year anniversary of the Irish referendum to urge the UK Government to overturn the province's draconian abortion laws.
Emma Campbell from the campaign group said: “The anniversary of Repeal brings the dire situation in Northern Ireland into sharp relief. In a jurisdiction which does not require a referendum and where the UK Government have the power to act swiftly to remove the harsh and out of date laws, they are still happy to force women and pregnant people to take planes for healthcare or do it illegally and secretly in their own bathrooms without access to safe aftercare.”

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