It is still governed by the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, which makes it a crime, punishable by life imprisonment, to administer “any poison or other noxious thing” or to “use any instrument” to induce a miscarriage.The sole exceptions are when a woman’s life, or her long-term mental or physical health, is at risk.
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or the past couple of decades, the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland has been shrinking, not in length but in density, all the apparatus of othering – customs posts, identity checks, soldiers – replaced by simple roadside reminders (blink and you’ll miss them) that speed limits are now in kilometres instead of miles.
Already, though, in the months since the EU referendum, there are signs that could be about to change again.
Last June, Northern Ireland voted 56% to 44% in favour of remaining in the EU, even though the largest party in the power-sharing executive, the Democratic Unionist party (DUP), campaigned on the leave side; theirs was a curious stance to say the least, given that Brexit was almost certain to put a strain on the very union – of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – the party holds dear.