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 steps he is taking with the Northern Ireland Executive to ensure abortion services in Northern Ireland are compliant with the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc.) Act 2019; and if he will make a statement.

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

Regulations have been in place to make provision for accessing abortions in Northern Ireland since 31 March 2020, consistent with section 9 of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc.) Act 2019.

I note that some service provision commenced on the ground in Northern Ireland through existing sexual and reproductive health services from last April. Over 719 women and girls have been able to access services locally since this time.

We remain disappointed that the Northern Ireland Executive and Department of Health have not acted to ensure they deliver on these rights following the earlier change to the law. However, 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.

In the meantime, we are continuing to fund access to services in England for women and girls where access is not available locally in Northern Ireland.

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

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