Making A Choice



 Diana King, Kitty O’Kane and Collette Devlin outside Strand Road police station in Derry yesterday evening

Three women [Collette Devlin, Diana King and Kitty O’Kane] have handed themselves into a police station in Derry, stating they have procured and taken illegal abortion pills and requesting that they be prosecuted, in protest at Northern Ireland’s restrictive abortion laws.

The women hope to trigger a trial to showcase the archaic nature of the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act – the legislation which makes abortion in Northern Ireland illegal except in extremely rare circumstances.

King, 72, a retired social worker, said she felt compelled to make a stand…  “It is unforgivable how women are being treated. I am handing myself in to the police to inform them that I have procured the nine-week abortion pills on several occasions,” she said before making her way to the police station.

…The three women put themselves forward ahead of younger women, because they no longer have jobs that might be affected by a criminal record.

Northern Irish women ask to be prosecuted for taking abortion pills (The Guardian)

Pic: Gareth Wilkinson

52 thoughts on “Making A Choice

  1. Daisy Chainsaw

    I expect nothing will come of this, unfortunately. The women currently prosecuted have no affiliation to pro choice groups so they’re easy to victimise.

    I expect the hypocrisy to continue.

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      I’d have thought there lack of affiliation to a known group would make it easier for them; people will find it difficult to cast aspertions on their character and/or motivation by association you that group.

      1. Daisy Chainsaw

        Moyest, they’re not going to prosecute women who make a point of looking to be prosecuted. Instead, they pick on low hanging fruit like the woman whose flatmates resented that she didn’t feel shame or regret for taking the pills and the mother who bought pills for her daughter. Neither was involved with the pro-choice movement so they’re easily isolated and easily prosecuted without mass support from pro-choice organisations.

        1. rotide

          Well hello little miss spin.

          Did you mean to say ” like the woman whose flatmates resented that she didn’t have enough respect for them that she dumnped her foetus in the kitchen bin”?

          1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

            The flatmates who went rummaging in the bin to find it?

          2. rotide

            So you would see a bloody mess of material in the bin and go ‘That’s funny, I don’t remember tidying away a bloodbath, oh well best ignore”

            Please don.

          3. newsjustin

            Best not to look into anything Don. Just pretend things haven’t happened. That’s definetly a blueprint for a healthy society.

            And your characterisation of her flatmates is so one-sided and biased it’s hilarious. They seem to have tried to help her.

          4. fluffybiscuits


            they tried to force her to have the baby against her will, they imposed their wishes and values on the poor young woman who was vunerable. What they did was exploit her for their own end. You cannot defend the indefensible. Don is fully justified in the characterisation of the flatmates as its accurate…

          5. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

            “Best not to look into anything Don. Just pretend things haven’t happened. ”
            I wouldn’t go rooting through the bin. I imagine it’s one of your favourite pastimes though.

            “They seem to have tried to help her.”
            Nope. People wanting to help wouldn’t have called the cops on her. She made the wrong decision according to them and they punished her for it. In their own words “”This is about her attitude. It was as if she was getting rid of a piece of clothing,” she stated. “There was absolutely no remorse. Even the way she was up and away out and doing her own thing a day after the abortion, while me and our other house-mate just walked around in shock.”

            Terrible flatmates.

          6. Lorcan Nagle

            “So you would see a bloody mess of material in the bin and go ‘That’s funny, I don’t remember tidying away a bloodbath, oh well best ignore””

            An abortion at the stage where the pills are effective resembles a particularly heavy period. So it’s really only a bloodbath if you think girls are icky

          7. newsjustin

            Except for the recognisably human foetus Lorcan? You mean it looks like a heavy period except for the foetus?

            Ok Don. They were terrible flatmates because they wouldn’t support her decision to do something illegal and dangerous. Maybe they were terrible flatmates but ok people.

          8. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

            “They were terrible flatmates because they wouldn’t support her decision to do something illegal”

            You are being disingenious again news. It is legal in the UK and only politicians and their outdated religious views stop it being legal in the North. Women who can afford it fly to the UK, those who don’t end up with a kid they don’t want or risking prosecution because other people won’t give them the same rights women in the rest of the UK have. You know this but are being ridiculous. You can be “pro-life” but still have an understanding of what is actually happening.

            “and dangerous.”
            Wrong. Abortion pills are very safe. Even safer if women are allowed to take them under medical care!!!!

            “Maybe they were terrible flatmates but ok people.”
            No, they are a^^holes. Both of them. But especially the one who wanted to force her to bear her a child. That she can’t step back and see her own role in this says a lot about her. I am sorry she had a miscarriage but that doesn’t give her squatting rights over someone else’s womb.

          9. rotide

            Except that it was Lorcan.

            and don, I actually agree with justin here, you’re charicterising them to suit your agenda.

            I have no comment to make about the womans abortion choices, just how she decided to go about disposing of the result. Those flatmates are taking a lot of slack for doing nothing legally wrong. Morally they are on shakier ground but that certainly doesn’t extend to trying to force her to keep the baby. That’s just ridiculous revisionism.

          10. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

            Read the link rotide, that’s exactly what they tried to do, they don’t try and hide it. No need for revisionism when it’s all the more damning for being in their own words.

          11. newsjustin

            Lorcan should read the link too.

            “I didn’t expect the baby to be so fully formed. The court was told she was 10 to 12 weeks pregnant when she obtained the tablets, but he seemed older. He had fingers, little toes. Even now I just have a picture in my mind of it. Its wee foot was perfect.”

            It’s ok Lorcan, you’re not alone. The flatmates didn’t think there’d be a recognisably human foetus either.

            Serves them right for looking I guess. How dare they!

          12. Lorcan Nagle

            I did read the article when it was first published. She’s lying about what the remains looked like.

          13. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

            It does serve them right for looking. Glad we agree at last.

          14. They Tried To Make Me Go To Rehab

            No she meant to say ‘the reactionary little troll poster whose every utterance is such a manifest attempt at peevish obfuscation it’s a shame his mother didn’t pursue the option specified above’

          15. newsjustin

            I’m just curious about why Lorcan would claim a woman was lying undr oath about seeing a recognisably human foetus in a bin.

            I think it’s because Lorcan cannot bear to consider the humanity of an aborted foetus.

          16. newsjustin

            You’re right, of course, my bad. I wonder did she give similar evidence in court.

            Do you still think she’s lying about what she saw though? That a 9 week foetus can’t have toes?

        2. newsjustin

          Serious question – Who are “they”? Do you think there are agents within the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland actively seeking to prosecute women under the 1861 Act? That they get some kind of satisfaction out of it?

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            Well if they don’t prosecute these women, it’ll go some way to suggesting just that. We’re talking about Northern Ireland here, anyway. Their national day is a celebration of a masonic organisation for Protestants. Members aren’t allowed to marry Catholics. Again, NI’s national day. Your scenario about prosecutors wanting to punish women is quite realistic.

          2. newsjustin

            Yeah. I’m not so sure there’s a grand plan for any of this. But I suspect every state prosecution service around the world is wary of show-boating like this.

        3. Daisy Chainsaw

          @Rotide Have you any idea what a heavy period is like? Women throw bloodied sanitary towels and tampons in the bin every day and they look nothing like a bloodbath, and having waited over a week to rummage through the bin, there wouldn’t be a bloodbath either. At that stage the blood would have dried into the sanitary towels

          Having a heavy period or a medical abortion is not like the Red Wedding in Game of Thrones, you know! You need to get your information from somewhere legitimate, not gorno fetish sites like Youth Defense, or the Lifesite.

    2. Lorcan Nagle

      This is actually the second attempt to raise awareness by Pro-choice groups in the north. When the first case came to light (the mother who bought the pills for her daughter, and is still awaiting trial), something like 150 NI activists signed a letter stating that they’d taken the abortion pills and that if they’re going to prosecute one woman, they should prosecute all them as well.

      Obviously, nothing happened.

          1. rotide

            I’m genuinely asking the question. They are still prosecuting the woman, did the police just ignore the other people taking the pills or did it go no further than a letter yet?

  2. J

    Given that they are well past the age of childbearing, how will they establish the necessary intent ?

    1. ethereal

      how long are those tablets available? what age were those women when they took them?

    2. missred

      If you read the Guardian article, it says they have procured the pills on multiple occasions and given their addresses for delivery for others who need them and are too scared to give their own. It also says they are all retired from their jobs so are fine to put themselves forward, rather than have someone risk a criminal record and affect their employment.

    3. Daisy Chainsaw

      It’s a criminal offence to both take the drugs and give/sell them to a woman to have an abortion

      Section 59: “Whosoever shall unlawfully supply or procure any poison or other noxious thing, or any instrument or thing whatsoever, knowing that the same is intended to be unlawfully used or employed with intent to procure the miscarriage of any woman, whether she be or be not with child, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and being convicted thereof shall be liable . . . to be kept in penal servitude

  3. Sharon Reynolds

    Fair play to three women.

    They should have a choice whether to have baby or not. Their old enough to make that decision.

  4. Ms Piggy

    I assume they’ll have lawyers acting for them for free if this does lead to any prosecutions, but if they do need any financial support, I’ll happily donate to them. Even without the fear of employment problems, it’s brave to put your head above the parapet like this, and I have huge respect for them for doing this in aid of the younger women who really need proper access to full medical services. Every time someone does something like this however, it makes it easier for the next woman to speak and act openly. Thank you, ladies.

  5. Peter Dempsey

    The ” no uterus = no opinion” argument frequently dished out to men should apply here.

    These women are past child-bearing age and therefore their opinion does not count.

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