Today sees the launch of the first viral video campaign aimed at Westminster MPs to secure an equal right to abortion for the women of Northern Ireland. Women in Northern Ireland do not have the same right to abortion as British women and suffer discrimination every day.

Sexual health charity fpa, has created four viral videos, each a minute long, to persuade MPs why they must extend the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland. Every MP in Westminster will receive all four videos in the series. These will start arriving on MP's computers today, in the run up to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) Bill vote on the 22 October. It is estimated that 80,000 Northern Irish women have travelled to England and other European cities since 1967 to pay for a private abortion.

Dr Audrey Simpson OBE, Director of fpa in Northern Ireland said:

"There is a 'chill factor' surrounding abortion in Northern Ireland which masks what really happens to women with an unplanned or crisis pregnancy. These videos will expose exactly what's going on in women's lives. MPs in Westminster must understand that although abortion is a health issue in Britain, in Northern Ireland it's also a class issue. Because women from Northern Ireland are not entitled to a free NHS abortion and have to pay up to £2,000 themselves for one, abortion is only available to those who can afford it."

The viral videos contain different stories and scenarios. In two of the videos, actors tell us the stories of real women who've attended fpa's counselling service: the only impartial counselling service for unplanned pregnancy in Northern Ireland.

The videos show the devastation that denying access to abortion has on women's lives and the inequality between Northern Irish and British women. Stories include a woman whose babies would have died at birth and another whose health would have suffered irreversibly had they gone through with the pregnancy.

"Every day we see women going through the anguish of having to travel to England or overseas to pay for a private abortion or going through with a pregnancy they don't want," continued Dr Simpson. "But these women have to do this behind a veil of secrecy.

"The Northern Ireland Assembly refuses to accept that women in Northern Ireland are the same as British women and need abortion services. Some women for reasons very personal to themselves will need to have an abortion. We hope the viral videos will persuade Westminster MPs to be the 'voice' for Northern Ireland women. Currently the Assembly is not listening to women or providing essential reproductive healthcare for them," she concluded.

The viral videos spearhead fpa's national public and parliamentary campaign to amend the HFE Bill. Extending the locations where abortions can take place, doing away with the requirement for two doctors, allowing trained nurses to perform abortions are some of the main demands of the campaign to modernise abortion provision in the UK.

People across the UK can also show their support for women in Northern Ireland by signing a national petition hosted at the Prime Minister's website www.No10.gov.uk. The videos are hosted by YouTube and can be watched online at http://www.fpa.org.uk. The four viral videos are split into:

-- Mary's story: Diagnosed with severe fetal abnormality and denied an abortion

-- Irene's story: Denied an abortion after being told the pregnancy could cause her to go blind.

-- Young people of Northern Ireland: Discuss some of the problems women in Northern Ireland face when they want an abortion.

-- Fact and Fiction: Do you know the facts about abortion in Northern Ireland?

Watch the videos here.

fpa (Family Planning Association) is the only registered charity working to improve the sexual health and reproductive rights of all people throughout the UK.

http://www.fpa.org.uk