Abortion: Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Office written question – answered on 29th January 2021.

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Photo of Jess Phillips Jess Phillips Shadow Minister (Home Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, how many women have travelled to England to receive abortion care since the establishment of a legal framework for abortion in Northern Ireland on 31 March 2020.

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

The health and safety of women and girls remains paramount in accessing abortion services across the UK. I note there is some local provision of services, with over 719 abortions having been provided in Northern Ireland.

Where access is sought in other circumstances and cannot yet be provided locally in Northern Ireland, we are continuing to engage closely with the British Pregnancy Advisory Service who are contracted to provide access to the Government-funded services in England. During Covid-19, even where travel options have been limited, some abortion services have remained available in England for women resident in Northern Ireland to access.

The statistics for 2020 will be published later this year by the Department of Health and Social Care as per usual practice.

We firmly believe that full commissioning of services by the Department of Health would remain the most appropriate way to progress the matter and we are working to further engage and offer support to achieve this at the earliest opportunity.

We are continuing to monitor the situation closely, including considering further legislative action at Westminster.

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