Over the past week we have seen a vision of a more hopeful, inclusive and fair Northern Ireland.
A hopeful future where people can marry who they love, regardless of sexual orientation or gender. A future where the LGBTQ+ community of Northern Ireland are afforded the basic human rights that their counterparts across the UK and Ireland have been.
We have been given hope for a future where we trust women*, not criminalise them. A future where one of the most difficult decisions a woman can make is between her and her doctor. Where that decision isn’t impeded by solicitors or the worry of how much it will cost to fly abroad for healthcare.
This vision of a hopeful future also includes a Northern Ireland Assembly, where the student voice is heard loud and clear. But in the absence of a functioning assembly, we must act when human rights are denied.
UUSU welcomes and supports recent legislation for marriage equality and reform of reproductive healthcare in Northern Ireland.
Pride celebrations are just around the corner, with more cause for celebration in Northern Ireland than ever before. For too long our LGBTQ+ friends and family have been denied the same human rights afforded in other regions of the UK and Ireland, to the frustration of students.
UUSU welcomes and rejoices in the historic Westminster vote to legislate for marriage equality in Northern Ireland – this is a major step forward and a victory which belongs to the students, activists and campaigners and every LGBTQ+ individual who has fought relentlessly for marriage equality.
Northern Ireland remains the only region in the UK & Ireland where access to free & safe abortion is criminalised. We have some of the world’s strictest laws on abortion access; laws which fall far below the standard of international human rights.
UUSU supports the decriminalisation and legalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland and the right of women to have full bodily autonomy. In what would be a historic victory for women and human rights, UUSU is hopeful that Monday’s Westminster vote results in the legalisation of reproductive healthcare in Northern Ireland.
ON BEHALF OF THE STUDENT EXECUTIVE
*The UUSU uses the term “women” in our statement to line up with other statements on these issues. However, we fully understand that abortion reform will impact on the healthcare provisions to any individual who can become pregnant and are fully supportive of all those who will benefit from this reform.