Abortion: Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Office written question – answered on 1st December 2020.

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Photo of Rupa Huq Rupa Huq Labour, Ealing Central and Acton

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what recent assessment he has made of the risk of (a) stress and (b) psychological trauma to pregnant women who have to travel from Northern Ireland to Great Britain to access abortion care.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office

The Abortion (Northern Ireland) (No. 2) Regulations provide the new framework for safe and lawful access to abortion services in Northern Ireland.

I am pleased interim services commenced in Northern Ireland from early April 2020, and that, according to figures released by the Department of Health in October, over 719 abortions have been provided to women and girls without their having to travel to England.

The Government recognises the health impacts, and stress, that can arise if women and girls choose, or have, to travel from Northern Ireland to Great Britain to access abortion care. That is why it is vital that women and girls are able to consult with experts and access counselling and support services to receive the appropriate care and support they need in accessing abortion services.

The Government’s Central Booking Service in England can continue to be contacted for support and advice on options available to access abortion services, and Informing Choices Northern Ireland has been acting as the Central Access Point in order to provide a local pathway to abortion care in Northern Ireland.

The health and safety of women and girls remains paramount in accessing abortion services right across the UK. My department and I are continuing to engage with the Northern Ireland Minister of Health and his department on progressing with the full commissioning of services for access to safe and lawful abortion care for women and girls in Northern Ireland.

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