Anger as Northern Ireland woman who took abortion pill is given suspended sentence

The woman was sentenced at Belfast Crown Court Credit: PA

A woman in Northern Ireland was handed a suspended sentence after buying drugs online to bring about a miscarriage because she couldn't afford travel to England for a termination.

The 21-year-old admitted procuring her own abortion and was given a three-month jail term suspended for two years, UTV reported.

But her barrister told Belfast Crown Court his client would not have been before the courts if she lived in any other region of the UK.

Under the Abortion Act 1967, abortions are legal in England, Scotland and Wales, but not in Northern Ireland except in matters of life and death.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, bought two types of drugs online, took them and then miscarried in July 2014 when she was 19.

Eight days later her housemates reported to the police her purchase of the drugs.

The woman claimed she had been advised by a clinic in England about the availability of the drugs, after failing to raise enough money to travel for a termination.

Her barrister, Paul Bacon, said his client felt "victimised" by the system.

The woman's barrister said his client felt "victimised" by the system Credit: PA

Under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, anyone carrying out an abortion in Northern Ireland, except under some extremely limited circumstances, can be jailed for life.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service said the woman “is a victim of Northern Ireland’s draconian abortion laws and the refusal of politicians to act to protect the health of their constituents".

A BPAS spokesperson added: “We call on all politicians to repeal these antiquated, Victorian laws and create an abortion framework fit for women in 2016. We deserve nothing less".