POLITICS

Labour MP Stella Creasy Needed Police Escort At Pro-Abortion Event in Belfast

"Polls clearly show anti-choice protestors out of step with NI public."

08/08/2017 16:35 | Updated 08 August 2017

Labour MP Stella Creasy needed the protection of a police escort to get past anti-abortion protesters in Belfast. 

The MP was speaking at the pro-choice ‘Time For Change’ event in a bid to pressure law-makers to extend abortion rights in Northern Ireland. 

But protesters holding aloft gruesome foetus posters crowded the venue and, amid reports charity workers were attacked, Creasy left the building flanked by police. 

She tweeted: “First time I have had a police escort to leave a public meeting - polls clearly show anti choice protestors out of step with NI public.”

The Walthamstow MP has drawn the ire of pro-life campaigners since she forced the UK Government to extend free abortions to women in Northern Ireland. 

(WARNING: Graphic and distressing images below)

Unlike in the rest of the UK, it is illegal to have an abortion in Northern Ireland and women who wanted one had to pay £900 to travel to the mainland. 

This is the case even in the event of rape or incest, or a fatal foetal disability. The only exception is if doctors consider a woman’s life to be in serious and imminent danger.

But, as Theresa May sought to seal her £2bn deal with the DUP in the wake of the General Election, she agreed to foot the bill for women to get an abortion on the mainland in order to stave off a cross-party rebellion led by Creasy on the Queen’s Speech. 

PA Wire/PA Images
DUP leader Arlene Foster

The DUP has long opposed abortion, with leader Arlene Foster telling the Guardian last year: “I would not want abortion to be as freely available here as it is in England and don’t support the extension of the 1967 act.”

Legislation change has previously been voted down in Stormont and the DUP has repeatedly used veto powers - known as a petition of concern - to block debate. 

Though power-sharing talks in Stormont remain in deadlock, some Tory politicians have suggested the deal with the DUP could lead to further liberalisation of the law in Northern Ireland in future. 

In an interview with the BBC, former Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson suggested that the legal abortion time limit could be reduced. 

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