I recognise the Rt Hon Lady’s work on this important issue to date. We have worked hard for a year now to encourage progress from the Department of Health on proper commissioning of the services set out in the regulations a year ago but without success.
While over 1,100 abortions had been provided locally in Northern Ireland since April 2020, services have not been formally commissioned by the Department of Health.
That is why we recently laid further Regulations which provide the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland with a power to direct the Department of Health and others to take the action necessary to implement the recommendations in paragraphs 85 and 86 of the CEDAW Report. Women and girls in Northern Ireland should have the same rights in this space as those across the rest of the UK.