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Chapter 6 focuses on that part of the UK that was omitted from the Abortion Act: Northern Ireland. We show that, notwithstanding this formal exclusion, the Abortion Act has played an important role in the region such that a biography of the Abortion Act necessarily offers the story of not just a British law but, rather, of a UK one. Over the past five decades, Northern Irish women have travelled in large numbers to access legal abortions in Britain, with the Act offering a ‘release valve’ that would limit the numbers of dangerous backstreet abortions and the mortality and morbidity that have driven reform elsewhere. Further, the Abortion Act would form a key focus of campaigns for and against abortion law reform within Northern Ireland; when reform eventually came, the Act would play a role in shaping it, and the reform of Northern Ireland’s abortion law has given significant momentum to the campaign for the decriminalisation of abortion.
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