‘Abortion is love’: US Supreme Court judgement continues to make waves across Northern Ireland

The US Supreme Court’s landmark decision on Friday to overturn a nationwide right to have abortions continues to cause waves on this side of the Atlantic, including NI.

A defaced war memorial in Arizona after the authorities there announced that pro-choice rioters had attempted to break into the state capitol building whilst lawmakers were meeting inside
A defaced war memorial in Arizona after the authorities there announced that pro-choice rioters had attempted to break into the state capitol building whilst lawmakers were meeting inside

Whilst pro-life groups have celebrated, there has been a seismic upwelling of anger from pro-choice activists across the Province, with some demanding that parties like the SDLP and Alliance abandon their ‘issue of conscience’ stances in the wake of the judgement.

Alliance for Choice Derry demanded that the SDLP “scrap [your] bizarre ‘pro life conscience position’ to stop your party platforming militant anti choice violence”.

It also re-tweeted this message from the Chicago Abortion Fund to its roughly 4,600 followers: “We will never stop having abortions. Abortion is sacred. Abortion is love. Abortion is liberation.”

(The same group has previously tweeted “Abortion is a social good. Abortion is healthcare. Abortion is freedom. We love abortion.”)

Meanwhile the Belfast-based Alliance for Choice, a group which was praised by Conservative Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis following a meeting with its activists last month, tweeted a picture of a placard to its 14,200 followers, reading:

“Dear Patriarchy, F**k your abortion ban! We’re gonna do it anyway, signed – the Persisterhood & Resisterhood.”

People Before Profit Belfast councillor Fiona Ferguson declared: “Pro-choice activists had to work overtime to convince SF MLAs to oppose a DUP anti-choice bill last year.

“Their party policy is still not pro-choice. Much like the SDLP and Alliance, it’s time for politicians tweeting about Roe v Wade to get their own parties off the fence.”

Likewise Dr Fiona Bloomer, senior lecturer in social policy at the University of Ulster, said: “For those in political parties, show leadership, pull your party up beyond conscience voting – the days are long gone when that is acceptable.

“If you don’t like abortion don’t get one. Your personal position is of no interest here. You have no right to impose that on anyone.”

The Royal College of Obstetricts and Gynecologists,and Royal College of Midwives (both representing members in NI ) signalled their opposition to the court ruling too.

The former said “the decision to overturn abortion ruling #RoeVsWade is an unconscionable attack on the health and rights of women and girls... abortion care [is] essential healthcare”.

Meanwhile the midwives’ union re-tweeted a message from the pro-choice organisation BPAS, declaring: “The government must not watch quietly as women’s rights are rolled-back. Join us and call on Truss Liz to condemn this appalling breach of human rights.”

Meanwhile BBC presenter Amol Rajan attracted a wave of criticism at the weekend for using the term “pro-life” on air.

According to The Guardian, he had referred during the Saturday edition of the Today Programme to “pro-life groups” and “the pro-life coalition”.

The group Abortion Rights said that the term “pro-choice” was “neutral”, and instead of saying “pro-life” the term “anti-choice” should be used.

A BBC spokesperson said: “The style guide suggests anti-abortion as the preferred term, but the use of the term pro-life by presenters and contributors is not against editorial guidelines.”