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Northern Ireland has now legalized same-gender marriage and decriminalized abortion. Prior to this new decriminalization of abortion, the country’s laws had stated a person can end a pregnancy only if it caused danger to their physical and mental health. 

The 1861 Abortion Act of Northern Ireland clashed with the 1967 Abortion Act of Britain. The 1967 abortion act allowed physicians to legally perform the procedure; however, the procedural exception was not taken into effect in Northern Ireland. 

According to BBC, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) provided a report to the government on a recommendation on the subject of abortion. The report published in 2018 stated abortion should be allowed if the mental and physical state of the pregnant person is at risk or if there is “severe fetal impairment.”

The restrictions led pregnant folks to purchase costly abortion pills from the web, and physicians were required to report those who used the pills. Police even entered the homes of people believed to have purchased the abortion pills. The pills can negatively impact health, as they can cause heavy bleeding and infection.

With recent shutdowns of international governments, however, Parliament ruled the laws against abortion and same-sex marriage did not comply with Britain’s human right policies.

Same-gender sexual acts have been decriminalized since 1982, while marriage has been an argument-inducing topic among the Northern Ireland Assembly. The assembly has now voted on allowing for same-gender couples to get married five times. The legalization of unity, similar to common-law marriages or domestic partnerships, which had been previously consistently vetoed, was passed by a margin in its fifth and final attempt. 

Ultimately, thanks to Northern Ireland not having a true government, Parliament decided to hold the country to the same standards as the rest of Britain.