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Secretary of State’s intervention provides welcome clarity but should not have been necessary, says Bradshaw

Paula Bradshaw MLA has said she welcomes the clarity the Secretary of State’s intervention on the provision of abortion services in Northern Ireland will provide, but added it should not have been necessary in order for the law to be implemented.

The UK Government has given Brandon Lewis powers to compel the Executive to implement the laws, saying it was a ‘necessary and appropriate step’. The regulations will come into effect on March 31.

“The Secretary of State’s intervention is a necessary move towards providing clarity around the provision of abortion services in Northern Ireland. In that sense it is a welcome step,” said Ms Bradshaw.

“Nevertheless, it remains a significant frustration and concern some Ministers in the Executive felt they were above the law, as is evidenced by the requirement even to direct the First Minister and deputy First Minister to take action.

“Abortion is a conscience issue for Alliance but this matter is about what should be the first duty of an executive – to ensure the law is implemented properly and fairly. This episode once again shows why fundamental reform of the cross-community veto is long overdue.

“With regards to access to health services for women facing crisis pregnancies, however, clarity cannot come soon enough. I look forward to further details of how services will be accessed as the new regulations come into effect at the end of the month.”