Women - aged 69, 68 and 71 - tell PSNI they bought abortion pills

Pensioners go to station in Derry to say they acquired tablets for women afraid to do so

A woman holds abortion pills during a protest about reproductive rights in Dublin. The PSNI is preparing a report for the North’s Public Prosecution Service after three women went to Strand Road police station in Derry saying they had illegally procured abortion pills.   Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

A woman holds abortion pills during a protest about reproductive rights in Dublin. The PSNI is preparing a report for the North’s Public Prosecution Service after three women went to Strand Road police station in Derry saying they had illegally procured abortion pills. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

 

The PSNI is preparing a report for the North’s Public Prosecution Service after three women went to Strand Road police station in Derry saying they had illegally procured abortion pills.

The three Alliance for Choice members - Kitty O’Kane (69), Colette Devlin (68) and Diana King (71) - presented themselves to the PSNI on Monday evening.

The women said they had purchased the pills for women who were afraid to have them delivered to their homes.

The women were questioned and later released. “Three females attended Strand Road police station last night in connection with the procurement of abortion pills, contrary to section 58 of the Offences Against the Person Act,” a police spokeswoman confirmed on Tuesday.

“Police enquiries into the matter will continue,” she added. A file on the matter is being prepared for the PPS.

The women were cheered by a crowd outside the station when they went to Strand Road police station.

Ms King read a statement outside the station saying that in relation to abortion there was “one law for the rich and one law for the poor”.

She said that women who “can raise the £1,000 to £2,000” could travel to Britain for legal abortions but if they got abortion pills on line they could face prosecution.

Suspended sentence

The women indicated that their decision to present themselves was prompted by the case last month where a Belfast woman received a three-months suspended sentence for buying abortion pills on the internet.

After her housemates found a foetus of 10 to 12 weeks’ gestation in a bin they reported her to the the police.

Ms King said there was a “climate of fear resulting from Stormont and the DPP hounding women who are already at their most vulnerable”.

“I don’t want to believe our politicians will let this continue, but I fear they will, so it is up to us to keep campaigning,” she said.

A post on Facebook in support of the three women said they had “defiantly” broken the law.

The statement added, “People handing themselves in highlights the unworkability of the law. It lays bare the hypocrisy of the government and pressures the state to scrap it, making it clear that if the police wish to criminalise one woman for a crime that so many of us have committed then there can be no exception to the law, we must be arrested as well. Prisons would be filled to the brim if the law was actually enforced.”