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  1. ITV Report

Women hand themselves in for supplying abortion pills in Northern Ireland

Diana King, Colette Devlin and Kitty O'Kane are challenging the law. Credit: UTV

Three women have turned themselves into police in protest against Northern Ireland's abortion laws.

Diana King , 71, Colette Devlin, 68 and Kitty O'Kane, 69, reported to Derry police station on Monday to say they have taken delivery of abortion pills for women too afraid to have them delivered to their house.

Former social worker and foster mother, Ms King said they wanted to challenge the 1861 law that they said "persecutes women" that are unable to afford the cost of travelling to England to have a legal abortion.

We're feeling very angry that it is illegal, that women are placed in this situation.

Women that can't afford to travel to England to have a legal abortion can only access nine-week abortion pills for £60. We're very angry about that, we're very angry that women are being criminalised.

– Diana King

"We're very well prepared for the consequences that might come," Ms O'Kane added.

"Many of our women are being forced by a law that comes from the 19th century that doesn't give them the freedom to make their own choice."

The three women entered the police station with a prepared statement accompanied by their solicitor.

Supporters of the women protested outside the police station, holding placards reading: "Abortion: Punishment is the crime" and "Stop regulating my uterus!"

The current law makes abortion illegal in Northern Ireland except in very specific circumstances is it permitted if a woman's life is at risk or there is a permanent or serious risk to her mental or physical health.

Earlier this year a Belfast woman was given a suspended sentence for buying drugs online to terminate her pregnancy.

Another case is currently going through the courts where mother has been charged with giving her daughter pills to bring on a miscarriage.

Protesters against the 1861 law turned out in support of the women. Credit: UTV

Campaigners have criticised the government for failing to act and say they have washed their hands of the issue.

A proposal to legalise abortion in the Northern Ireland Assembly was defeated earlier this year and campaigners say they now have to take this drastic action to be heard.

In 2014/15, there were 16 terminations in Northern Ireland compared to 185,000 abortions carried out in the UK according to the Department of Health.