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Abortion issue must be solved, not exported, says Bradshaw

Paula Bradshaw MLA has said figures showing more than 1,000 woman travelled from here to Britain last year to access abortion services “brings shame on Northern Ireland” and demonstrated the need to solve rather than export abortion.

Figures from the UK Department of Health showed 1,014 women with addresses here made the journey in 2019, a fall from 1,053 the previous year.

“Abortion is a conscience issue for Alliance but regardless of our view on the precise nature of the regulations here, we must all agree exporting rather than solving the issue just brings shame on Northern Ireland.

“The most effective way of ensuring the issue is managed in the interests of women, and particularly of those facing a crisis pregnancy, is by implementing the regulations as they stand. Although there are always legitimate concerns around issues such as these, the fact is no-one else has come up with a better option than to trust women and trust medical professionals within the very clear framework the regulations set out.

“The lockdown has resulted in an horrendous increase in domestic and sexual violence against women, which will inevitably result in crisis pregnancies. I believe the lack of a fully commissioned abortion service by the Department of Health is not only unlawful, but is also allowing gender-based discrimination to continue in our society, which is frankly appalling.”