Weʼre raising £30,000 to pay the legal fees of a mother being prosecuted for helping her daughter get abortion pills
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A mother in Northern Ireland is on trial for getting abortion pills over the internet when her 15-year old daughter asked her for help to end an unwanted pregnancy. If she lived in any other part of the “United Kingdom”, the girl would have been fast-tracked for an abortion free on the Health Service. The mother has legal aid for the criminal case but wants to take a Judicial Review (JR) of the decision to prosecute her. While her income is limited, it is not low enough for her to qualify for legal aid in a civil case – that’s why we are raising funds to allow her to pursue this course and stop the prosecution.
Had the teenager whose mother is being prosecuted been living in any other part of the “United Kingdom”, she would have been fast-tracked for abortion, without her mother’s consent if necessary and the law there would regard it as in the girl’s ‘best interests’ to end the pregnancy.
A High Court judge ruled in Belfast last year that abortion is legal when the pregnancy is the result of rape and every political leader in the region has said that women should not be prosecuted for having abortions. So the mother has good reason to question why she is before the courts and facing a prison sentence of up to 5 years.
Of course, the main purpose of a Legal Fund is to pay lawyers’ fees. While Ms D’s legal team are working for reduced rates, hundreds of hours of work go into preparing a Judicial Review. A £25 donation provides half an hour of legal preparation; a £50 donation provides a full hour.
There are other costs that have to be met. For example, it costs £200 just to file for permission to take a Judicial Review. If permission is granted, it costs a further £200 to make the application. Then the work of finding out what is going on really starts. Each “summons” seeking documentation from the Public Prosecution Service costs £155. It seems that every legal move is expensive. That’s why only the very wealthy can usually afford to go to court.
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About the fundraiser
Alliance For Choice
Alliance for Choice is an organisation that campaigns for the extension of the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland. It is made up of women and men, from both Catholic and Protestant communities in the North of Ireland.