OMG where to start!
Well, the 24th of March 2022 may have been a normal boring day for some of us, but that Thursday just brought the North a little bit further into modern day society by passing not just one but THREE bills that will help people, and especially women and people with uteruses here in Northern Ireland.
I can’t wait to tell you about these (and hopefully I don’t sound too boring with any political talk).
The first bill that went through was Domestic Abuse Safe Leave Bill which will make provision for an entitlement to paid safe leave for victims of domestic abuse; and for connected purposes. This bill was sponsored by Rachel Woods from the Green Party who worked tirelessly along with Women’s Aid NI, to make sure victims are entitled to paid leave.
The bill passed its final stage on Thursday 24th, meaning victims of domestic abuse are now entitled to 10 days paid leave to help manage the effects of abuse.
This is a massive step forward in our politics and society, to recognise that domestic abuse effects all areas of a person’s life including the work place.
The next bill that went through was the Free Period Products Bill which was sponsored by SDLP’s Pat Catney which was the provision throughout Northern Ireland of free period products; and for connected purposes. The bill was heavily supported by The Homeless Period Belfast whose volunteers have been working so hard over the last number of years providing free period products for those who need them, something our government should have been doing.
The Bill passed its final stage on Thursday 24th, meaning that all public bathrooms in Northern Ireland must have free period products available. This bill not only can end period poverty, but also normalise periods within our society and end the financial cost the women and people with uteruses are burdened with.
The final bill that was passed was the Abortion Services Safe Access Zones Bill, which protects staff and patients from protesters outside premises providing abortions.
From the moment that abortion was legalised in Northern Ireland anti-choicer’s have stood outside our hospitals and healthcare services with graphic imagery and false information. They have followed staff to the cars, took down number plates, shouted horrendous abuse and even thrown holy water on people. They attack anyone trying to access any form of healthcare.
The Green Party’s Clare Bailey sponsored this bill and fought vigorously and on the Thursday 24th March 2022 we saw this amazing bill pass its final stage. This bill not only makes abortion healthcare more accessible but also protects our wonderful NHS staff from this horrendous abuse.
These bills will really bring Northern Ireland into the 21st century and make me so proud to be from this place we all call home.
We are just waiting on Royal Assent which is just politics way of saying the Queen has to put her signature on it.
Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long.