Religion, Abortion and the Criminal Justice System in Northern Ireland

Emma Campbell, Maureen Mansfield, Fiona K. Bloomer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Religiosity dominates discourse on abortion law and policy in contexts where it is restricted, illegal and difficult to access. In Western societies, restrictions bound by religiosity typically stem from a conservative right-wing Christian ethos, impacting on law making, provision of abortion services and support services. This chapter will examine the presence of religiosity in the criminal justice system within the UK from two perspectives: the attempts by anti-abortion religious groups to maintain influence on the dominant discourse, access and legislation, and how this has changed over time. Analysis of the discourse of key players, including anti-abortion politicians and anti-abortion judges and policy documents, will illustrate the harms and contradictions that can be enacted by infusing legal frameworks with religious morality, rather than looking to fundamental need, harm reduction and minimum human rights standards. Particular attention is paid to the criminalisation of abortion and threats of criminalisation of abortion seekers, abortion providers and activists within an environment of anti-abortion religious groups being apparatuses of the state.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCrime, Criminal Justice and Religion: A Critical Appraisal
EditorsPhilip Birch, Conor Murray, Andrew McInnes
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9781032232898
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2022


  • abortion
  • abortion faith
  • abortion law
  • abortion policy
  • abortion religion
  • abortion stigma


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