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Saturday, October 30, 1999 Published at 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK

UK: Northern Ireland

PUP calls for extension of abortion act

Rally will hear calls for greater choice for women

The Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) has hosted a rally calling for the extension of the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland.

The Pro-Choice Rally has taken place in front of the city hall in Belfast.

Speakers urged the Secretary of State Peter Mandelson to offer local women the same rights as those in the rest of the United Kingdom.

PUP spokeswoman Dawn Purvis explained the aim of the event.

"Over 50,000 women from Northern Ireland have had to travel to mainland Britain for terminations since the introduction of the Abortion Act in 1967.

"That is over 50,000 citizens being denied the same rights as other women in the rest of the UK," she said.

She claimed that figures showed abortion was an issue for Northern Ireland women.

"We are demonstrating in the hope that the Secretary of State Peter Mandelson will implement what his predecessor failed to and what was a Labour party manifesto pledge - extend the act to Northern Ireland now."

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