Woman who reported housemate for buying abortion drugs defends actions

Case has sparked debate about abortion laws in Northern Ireland

A woman who reported her housemate to police in Northern Ireland for buying drugs online to induce an abortion has defended her actions.

The woman who used the drugs was prosecuted under the North’s abortion laws earlier this week and handed a three-month jail sentence, suspended for 12 months.

The defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claimed she was unable to raise enough money to travel to England to access a lawful termination.

The pregnant woman miscarried a male foetus, aged between 10 and 12 weeks, after taking two types of abortion pills she purchased on the internet in 2014. She placed the aborted foetus in the bin, where her two housemates discovered it.

The housemate who reported the woman to police insisted people had to live by the law in Northern Ireland, whether they agreed with it or not.

“I know people may say it’s stupid (the law) and things like that, but it’s still the law, you have to abide by the law that’s here until that changes,” said the woman, who wished to remain anonymous.

“If this (case) even makes it change then fair enough, but if you break the law you have to be punished . . . At the minute it’s the law and if you break the law you have to be punished.”

In an interview with BBC Radio Ulster, the woman said she felt bad about what had happened to her housemate and had regrets, but said she could not have lived with herself if she did not take action after the foetus was found in a household bin.

“A week went by and the guilt of a baby in the bin was eating us up,” she said. “I did want justice for the baby because obviously it wasn’t the wee baby’s fault.”

She said she had been subjected to online abuse since the case became public.