Derry Girls stars show their support for Northern Ireland abortion law change
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Derry Girls stars show their support for Northern Ireland abortion law change

DERRY GIRLS stars Nicola Coughlan and Siobhan McSweeney have shown their support for a petition calling for abortion rights to be extended in Northern Ireland.

The pair, who play Clare Devlin and Sister Michael on the hit series, were part of a 28-women-strong group who formed a protest group in Westminster, central London.

That number had a symbolic meaning with an average of 28 women travelling from Northern Ireland to the mainland UK every week to undergo an abortion.

Under current law, abortion in Northern Ireland is only legal if a woman’s life is seemed to be at risk or if it can be proven that their mental or physical well-being is under threat.

By contrast, women in England, Scotland and Wales can terminate a pregnancy at any point before 24 weeks.

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They can also have an abortion after that point in the event that it is discovered that the mother’s life is at risk or the child could be born severely disabled.

Coughlan and McSweeney were part of the group delivering a 62,000-strong petition to the government calling on these abortion rights to be extended to Northern Ireland.

"We want to be here to stand up for those women who have to make those journeys so they don't have to be here. It's unfair that they are treated like criminals,” she told Sky News.

"People are treating it like it's not their problem, but it's somebody's problem.

"People in Ireland and the UK, we now have that access and it's unfair that people in Northern Ireland don't."

The debate around abortion law in Northern Ireland comes after the Republic of Ireland voted to repeal its laws in a referendum in May last year.

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It’s shed further light on the plight of many in Northern Ireland with protestors now calling on the government to take action.