The long road to reproductive rights in Northern Ireland: what next?

October 2019 marked the decriminalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland through an act of the British Parliament during  the prolonged suspension of the NI devolved government. The act was the culmination of concerted efforts by long-standing pro-choice activists in Northern Ireland, human rights organisations, healthcare professionals and MPs in Westminster, led by Stella Creasy who was able to garner cross-party support for policy change. 

The reinstatement of devolved institutions paved the way for abortion law reform and the introduction of regulations for local abortion access in Northern Ireland.  However, the road to abortion healthcare has been fraught with delays due to ongoing political deadlock and ideological resistance. 

The extraordinary circumstances brought about by the spread of Covid-19 compromised yet again the prospects for reproductive rights and abortion healthcare availability. As a result, a new fight for  reproductive rights has recently  ensued in the wake of travel restrictions and lockdown measures.  After yet another wave of mobilization led by pro-choice activists and healthcare professionals, abortion services have become available at last in Northern Ireland.

On Wednesday 22 of April we hosted a timely webinar  titled ‘The long road to reproductive rights in Northern Ireland: What next? 

We were joined to discuss the recent developments  for reproductive rights by Emma Campbell and Naomi Connor, co-chairs of Alliance for Choice,  the grassroots organisation at the core of pro-choice activism in NI,  and Dr Fiona Bloomer, a major expert in reproductive justice and abortion policy from Ulster University. 

Having been at forefront of research and pro-choice  activism,  our speakers shared information on current provisions and highlighted outstanding challenges to the full realization of reproductive justice in Northern Ireland. 

The conversation also offered an opportunity to situate existing obstacles to abortion access in Northern Ireland in relation to wider concerns over reproductive justice. Namely, we considered the ambivalent implications the current public health responses to Covid-19 might have on reproductive rights worldwide and reflected on  the attacks on abortion provision experienced globally.

Alliance for Choice continues to mobilise to ensure access to reproductive rights for all women and pregnant people. Make sure to keep up to date with their work on  social media. You can also support their activities through their fundraising campaign.

Below is the recording of our webinar:

Welcome to the Centre for Gender in Politics blog!

We are excited to launch the blog of the Centre for Gender in Politics featuring interventions from the community of gender scholars, students and activists at Queen’s University Belfast, as well as our international colleagues and friends. This blog aims to create a virtual hub to showcase research,  opinion pieces, teaching activities and students’ contributions on topics related to gender politics, intersectional feminism and LGBTQ+ activism.  

Reflecting the activities of our Centre, this blog will host contributions that highlight the centrality of gender,  in intersection with other categories such as race, class, sexuality and ability, to our understanding of local, national and global dynamics. 

Inspired by Cynthia Enloe’s famous slogan “the personal is political, is international”, we believe that these intersections matter in shaping the political, from everyday experiences to political institutions, from cultural production to “high-level” strategies for global security.  

Blog contributions exploring personal/political/international entanglements will include: Teaching; Events; Personal Reflections and Commentaries; Student Essays;  Research Notes; Reviews; Creative and Artistic Contributions. 

If you would like to feature in our blog get in touch via email: We would love to hear your ideas!

We look forward to continuing these conversations and featuring feminist contributions here. In the meantime, we want to inaugurate our blog by sharing the recording of our Launch event, Gender Now in NI in November 2019. Happy Listening!