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, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on equality for women across the UK of the lack of (a) funding or (b) commissioning for abortion services in Northern Ireland.

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

I am pleased that since the Regulations we made came into effect from 31 March 2020, some abortion service provision has commenced on the ground in Northern Ireland through existing sexual and reproductive health clinics across most Health and Social Care Trusts. According to figures released by the Department of Health in October, over 719 abortions have been provided in Northern Ireland. The collection of notification forms, and relevant data, in Northern Ireland is a matter for the Northern Ireland Department of Health.

Informing Choices Northern Ireland has been acting as the Central Access Point in order to provide a local pathway to this abortion care. Women and girls resident in Northern Ireland also continue to have access to safe, fully-funded abortion services in England through the Government-funded scheme and remain able to contact the Central Booking Scheme for support and advice on options available in this regard.

The health and safety of women and girls remains paramount in accessing abortion services right across the UK. 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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