My Celebrity Life

What are the rules around abortion in Northern Ireland as Three Families airs on BBC One?

A brand new drama is set to arrive on our screens tonight, as Three Families airs on BBC One.

The programme focuses on abortion in Northern Ireland, with the two-part drama telling the true stories of three women and their families.

Sinead Keenan stars in Three Families, which is set between 2013 and 2019, known for her role as Nina Pickering on Being Human.

She appears alongside Bloodlands star Lola Petticrew, Gentleman Jack’s Amy James-Kelly and The Dry’s Genevieve O’Reilly in the impressive cast.

The drama focuses on a time when abortion was illegal in Ireland, but the rules surrounding the procedure have changed in more recent times.

Here’s everything you need to know as the drama arrives on BBC One.

What are the rules around abortion in Northern Ireland?

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Three Families arrives on BBC One on Monday night (Picture: BBC)

Abortion laws in Northern Ireland were liberalised by MPs at Westminster in 2019 while Stormont was collapsed. It means that abortion in the country is now legal.

The law states that abortions in Northern Ireland can take place in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy ‘without conditionality’. There is no time limit in cases of a fatal foetal abnormality.

A limit of 24 weeks applies in circumstances where continuing the pregnancy would involve risk of injury to the woman’s physical or mental health, greater than the risk of terminating the pregnancy.

While the law was passed, full services have been stalled.

The Department of Health has yet to centrally commission the services on a region-wide basis, although the House of Commons formally approved regulations which enable Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis to roll out abortion services in the country back in April.

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Genevieve O’Reilly plays Rosie in Three Families (Picture: BBC/Studio Lambert/Steffan Hill)

The stalling means that some women from Northern Ireland are still travelling to England to access abortions, due to fully commissioned services being available.

Writer Gwyneth Hughes has said she was ‘amazed’ to discover how many women travel to England to undergo the procedure when researching the show.

‘So when executive producer Sue Hogg first asked me to write Three Families, I was amazed to discover that thousands of women from Northern Ireland still had to get on planes and ferries and go to England in search of terminations they could not access at home,’ she explained.

‘I arrived in Belfast to begin my research at the height of a ferocious campaign, which culminated in the Westminster Government controversially imposing legal change when Assembly was suspended.’

Three Families begins on May 10 on BBC One at 9pm.


Credit: Original article published here.

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