Urgent need for commissioning of abortion services, say Bradshaw and Egan

Paula Bradshaw MLA and Connie Egan MLA have re-emphasised the urgent need for commissioning of abortion services in line with human rights obligations entered into by the UK Government, on the third anniversary of the decriminalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland.

abortion Paula Bradshaw Connie Egan

Paula Bradshaw MLA stated: “I continue to be in regular contact with the Northern Ireland Office to express my ongoing concern, three years after decriminalisation, women are being denied access to healthcare to which they have a basic human and legal right.

“Services which are legislated for and which are established as required by obligations entered into by the UK Government remain effectively inaccessible to so many women here. It is simply not good enough to see endless delay in this area. We need to see delivery of reliable and consistent services accessible to all.

“This joins the list of things, alongside the lack of a women’s health strategy, more limited access to IVF than elsewhere in the UK and even the failure to deliver fair pay and safe staffing legislation for a predominantly female workforce in health and social care, which demonstrate how political paralysis delivers such negative outcomes in health and social care for women.”

Connie Egan MLA added: “As a result of the Health Minister’s failure to implement the law in Northern Ireland, it remains the case vital services have not been commissioned for women and not all Trust areas are providing early medical abortions in line with legislative requirements.

“While some Trusts fail to deliver these services, access to them becomes in effect a postcode lottery, with the practical negative impact being felt mostly by women in more rural or more marginalised communities.

“While the Health Minister continues to evade questions raised even in recent months and essentially refuses to engage with organisations who have campaigned for the implementation of reproductive health services, we have to recognise ultimately this is an issue of international human rights standards which needs to be dealt with by the UK Government urgently.

“That is why the Secretary of State, having had three years to do so, must step in and commission full services in line with obligations entered into arising from the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. There is no excuse for further inaction.”