NORTHERN IRELAND.  Offences against the Person Act, 1861.
 
58. Every woman, being with child, who, with intent to procure her own miscarriage, shall unlawfully administer to herself any poison or other noxious thing, or shall unlawfully use any instrument or other means whatsoever with the like intent, and whosoever, with intent to procure the miscarriage of any woman whether she be or be not with child, shall unlawfully administer to her or cause to be taken by her any poison or other noxious thing, or unlawfully use any instrument or other means whatsoever with the like intent, shall be guilty of felony, and being convicted thereof shall be liable ... to be kept in penal servitude for life ....

 

59. Whosoever shall unlawfully supply or procure any poison or other noxious thing, or any instrument or thing whatsoever, knowing that the same is intended to be unlawfully used or employed with intent to procure the miscarriage of any woman, whether she be or be not with child, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and being convicted thereof shall be liable ... to be kept in penal servitude ....

 

Criminal Justice Act (Northern Ireland), 1945.

Punishment for child destruction.

25.

(1)   Subject as hereafter in this sub-section provided, any person who, with intent to destroy the life of a child then capable of being born alive, by any wilful act causes a child to die before it has an existence independent of its mother, shall be guilty of felony, to wit, of child destruction, and shall be liable on conviction thereof on indictment to penal servitude for life:

Provided that no person shall be found guilty of an offence under this section unless it is proved that the act which caused the death of the child was not done in good faith for the purpose only of preserving the life of the mother.

(2)   For the purposes of this and the next succeeding section, evidence that a woman had at any material time been pregnant for a period of twenty-eight weeks or more shall be prima facie proof that she was at that time pregnant of a child then capable of being born alive.

Provisions as to prosecution of offence of child destruction.

26.

(1)   Where upon the trial of any person for the murder or manslaughter of any child, or for infanticide, or for an offence under section fifty-eight of the Offences against the Person Act, 1861 (which relates to administering drugs or using instruments to procure abortion), the jury are of opinion that the person charged is not guilty of murder, manslaughter or infanticide, or of an offence under the said section fifty-eight, as the case may be, but that he is shown by the evidence to be guilty of the [offence] of child destruction, the jury may find him guilty of that [offence], and thereupon the person convicted shall be liable to be punished as if he had been convicted upon an indictment for child destruction.

(2)   Where upon the trial of any person for the [offence] of child destruction the jury are of opinion that the person charged is not guilty of that [offence], but that he is shown by the evidence to be guilty of an offence under the said section fifty-eight of the Offences against the Person Act, 1861, the jury may find him guilty of that offence, and thereupon the person convicted shall be liable to be punished as if he had been convicted upon an indictment under that section.

NOTE:  Under Northern Island case law the above provisions have been interpreted to allow the performance of legal abortions if performed in good faith for the purpose of preserving the life of the mother.  Life includes physical and mental health.

 

Guidance on the Termination of Pregnancy: The Law and Clinical Practice in Northern Ireland, 2009. Click here.