Family planning association – Belfast is a part of a widespread network of the sexual health charity FPA, established to deliver straightforward information, advice and support on sexual health, sex and relationships to people of the United Kingdom. This organization struggles to make sexual health a priority health issue in this country and educate people of all ethnic and social groups about it. Currently, abortion is illegal only in the Northern Ireland, and many of the efforts of Family planning association are focused on change abortion law in Britain and Northern Ireland.
Problem of abortion
According to the Family planning association – Belfast, the current abortion law in Great Britain has to be changed. Women living in England, Scotland and Wales are eligible for legal and safe abortion for about 40 years now. However, not a single woman in Northern Ireland shares this right. In other words, even if a woman is carrying a child diagnosed with severe condition or disability, she has to deliver the baby. This also includes victims of a rape and incest, as well as women who are forced to marriage and motherhood. The abortion law in Britain is old, and it has not been updated since the 1960s. Only a minor change was introduced in 1990, determining a change to the time limit.
Time for change
Family planning association has started a campaign with a slogan “Time for change”. In the words of the activists, the goal of this campaign is to bring Northern Ireland into the 21st century by giving women access to abortion services. If a woman in Northern Ireland wants to have a legal abortion, she and her family will need to find at least £2,000 to pay for the procedure in an abortion clinic in Britain or elsewhere in Europe. Obviously, most of the women will not be able to find such a large amounts of money, and they simply will not have the abortion. Moreover, if a woman succeeds to arrange the abortion, she will have to keep it a secret, arrange travel, find a place to stay, spend some days from home, and feel humiliated even though she is a taxpayer.
Family planning association has launched Time for Change campaign in July 2008 to support women's rights to abortion in Northern Ireland. The campaign has addressed the Prime Minister and Members of Parliament with a demand to extend abortion to Northern Ireland by amending the Human Fertilization and Embryology (HFE) Bill.