BBC drama explores abortion in Northern Ireland

For more than half a century, any woman in the UK with an unwanted pregnancy has been legally entitled to ask for a termination – except in Northern Ireland.

“I knew the law was different, but I had no idea what that really meant until I went to Northern Ireland and met some of the families involved. I’ve been deeply moved by their experiences and feel honoured to be asked to share their stories.” – Writer, Gwyneth Hughes

As Northern Ireland faces a potential change to its law on abortion, BBC One will broadcast a drama based on real-life stories.

When It Happens To You is made by the producers of Three Girls, the Beeb’s award winning account of the grooming scandal in Rochdale.

Its writer Gwyneth Hughes explores the emotive issues around abortion in Northern Ireland and the experience of families and their loved ones whose lives have been profoundly affected by it.

In Northern Ireland, abortion is legal in limited circumstances, under the Criminal Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 1945 and subsequent court rulings, in which the act is to save the life of the mother; or there is a risk of permanent and serious damage to the mental or physical health of the mother.

Northern Ireland therefore has one of the strictest abortion laws in the European Union, and Europe more generally, similar to a number of other relatively small jurisdictions, including Andorra, the Faroe Islands, Liechtenstein, Malta, and San Marino.

When It Happens To You is a Studio Lambert production for BBC One.

“Abortion is a complex and emotive subject, and it continues to divide opinion in Northern Ireland and elsewhere. Following months of detailed research, Gwyneth and the Studio Lambert team will help audiences get an insight into how abortion law has affected many different women and their families. Their stories are powerful, personal and memorable.”- Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama

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