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Department of Health written question – answered on 14th July 2017.

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Photo of Lord Lester of Herne Hill Lord Lester of Herne Hill Liberal Democrat

Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to introduce legislation to repeal (1) sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, and (2) section 25 of the Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Act as amended; and, if not, why not.

Photo of Lord O'Shaughnessy Lord O'Shaughnessy The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The Government has no plans to repeal sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. As with other matters of conscience, abortion is an issue on which the Government adopts a neutral stance and allows Members to vote according to their moral, ethical or religious beliefs. Traditionally any proposals for legislative change are a matter for backbenchers to bring forward and there is a free vote in both Houses of Parliament.

There are no plans to repeal section 25 of the Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Act. The law on abortion in Northern Ireland is a matter for the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly.

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