People all over Ireland and the UK are tweeting with the hashtag #TheNorthIsNow – but what's it all about?
From midnight on Monday, abortion and same-sex marriage will be decriminalised in Northern Ireland.
The only thing that could prevent this going ahead is if the power-sharing government at Stormont is restored (though this is highly unlikely, given the coalition collapsed almost three years ago).
Widely acknowledged as a step towards equality, the law change is a result of the Executive Formation Act 2019 and was agreed upon by MPs in Westminster this July.
Until now, both abortion and same-sex marriage were banned in Northern Ireland under outdated 19th Century laws.
From midnight on Monday, the UK government can implement new laws providing women in the North with greater access to terminations. What's more, the first same-sex wedding is set to take place next month.
Women across Ireland and the UK are taking to social media to celebrate the news. Many are congratulating one another for taking to the streets to protest; for committing to the fight for body autonomy.
The Women's Council of Ireland said, "At midnight tonight, for the first time, reproductive rights and marriage equality will be realised across the island of Ireland.
"An important day for all the women who will no longer have to travel, and a historic day for Northern Ireland on the road to equality."
At midnight tonight, for the first time, reproductive rights and marriage equality will be realised across the island of Ireland. An important day for all the women who will no longer have to travel, and a historic day for Northern Ireland on the road to equality #TheNorthIsNow
— Womenscouncilireland (@NWCI) October 21, 2019
Others are remembering Lyra McKee, a journalist and gay rights activist who was fatally shot in Derry this year, as well as Savita Halappanavar whose death by septic miscarriage led to the passing of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013.
Waking up this morning, this was all I could think about.
— Oisín Hassan (@OisinH1) October 21, 2019
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