Abortion in Northern Ireland

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:25 am on 25th March 2021.

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Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 11:25 am, 25th March 2021

I recognise that Parliament stepped in at the time it did in the way it did and imposed this duty on me on human rights grounds. However, the duty to implement the CEDAW recommendations in this context, as I have said, is a matter now of domestic law, with that legal obligation. We as a Government take our responsibility and our obligations in this regard very seriously and have always engaged constructively with the UN treaty body processes. It is only right that women and girls in Northern Ireland now are able to access safe local healthcare similar to that available to women and girls living elsewhere in the United Kingdom. I fervently hope, as I have outlined already this afternoon, that this is something the Department of Health and the Executive, even in these next few weeks, will find a way to be able to take forward in the way they feel is most appropriate for Northern Ireland, and to do so in a positive way for women and girls in Northern Ireland, therefore avoiding us as a Government or as a Parliament having to take any further action.