PSNI seize abortion pills at pro-choice demonstration in Belfast

Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar arrives at Dublin Castle for the results of the referendum on the ban on abortion

Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar arrives at Dublin Castle for the results of the referendum on the ban on abortion

Women on Waves founder Rebecca Gomperts said police had removed the robots, which were controlled from the Netherlands to show that the pills could be delivered to women in Northern Ireland seeking abortion without breaking the law.

The abortion issue has recently hit the headlines again with an overwhelming referendum vote in favour of legal abortion in the Republic of Ireland.

Today a tiny robot, less than the size of an A4 page, was used to distribute abortion pills which were taken by at least three protesters.

A number of women - who took the tablets before police intervened - were questioned, but have not been arrested.

The three women who took the pills had gathered in a circle while others dressed as handmaidens, in reference to the Margaret Atwood novel The Handmaid's Tale about women's rights being stripped away, stood behind them.

"But it's important to recognise that the people of Northern Ireland are entitled to their own process, which is run by locally elected politicians".

"Our focus is restoring a democratically accountable devolved government in Northern Ireland so that locally accountable politicians can make decisions on behalf of the public they represent".

"Northern Ireland after repeal will be one of only two jurisdictions remaining in Europe to criminalise women effectively for having abortions".

'We are not willing to accept it any more'.

After a tense hour-long encounter staged in an open area between the court buildings, the pro-choice activists boarded a bus.

The Northern Ireland Assembly voted in February 2016 against legalising abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality and rape or incest.

Former DUP health minister Jim Wells watched from the other side of the road as the activists picketed the party offices.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May has since come under pressure to back fresh legislation on the strict abortion laws in the province.

"Personally, I'm surprised by the extent of it", Doran said, adding that he "was conscious that there seemed to be a silent vote", but "didn't know what way it was going to go".

"I'm determined to get it right for women, to get it right for doctors and that's why it will take until the end of the year".

She added that they were "willing to flout the law because we do believe it violates human rights".

Unlike other parts of the United Kingdom, the 1967 Abortion Act does not extend to Northern Ireland.

The wrangle over what will happen to the Irish border after Brexit has put the previously unthinkable possibility of reunification of the island of Ireland firmly on the political agenda.

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