Alliance for Choice welcomes the news that the three main providers of abortions in England have been awarded grants by the Department of Health and Social Care to fund service provision in England for women and pregnant people resident in Northern Ireland. The cost of this service will be met by the Government Equalities Office with additional funding provided by HM Treasury. A small number of procedures will continue to be provided through the NHS where this is necessary for medical reasons. NHS providers will reimbursed by the Department of Health and Social Care. Alliance for Choice urge the Department of Health to ensure there is adequate information available for Healthcare professionals and the public alike, as there is no legal impediment to providing such information.
Contact 0333 2342184, the Central Booking System Number, if you need an appointment.
Northern Irish people seeking medical support in England are eligible for:
· A consultation with an abortion provider in England, including an assessment of whether the legal grounds for an abortion are met;
· The abortion procedure;
· HIV or sexually transmitted infection testing as appropriate;
· An offer of contraception from the abortion provider; and
· Support with travel costs if the woman meets financial hardship criteria.
This is comparable with the experience that abortion seekers in England receive, however the need to travel to England is still a necessity.
A central booking service will be run by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service which will simplify the process for those who choose to access these services. It means that women from Northern Ireland will have a single telephone number to call and an appointment will be made with the most appropriate provider, based on the woman’s requirements, her medical condition and the availability of the providers. The central booking service has been up and running since 1 March 2018.
Although Alliance for Choice welcome this scheme, it sadly leaves behind those in precarious employment, those without childcare, those in abusive and controlling relationships, those who are unable to travel easily due to disability and many more. Furthermore, Alliance for Choice assert that all of these healthcare services should be available to Northern Irish women and pregnant people in Northern Ireland. The recent CEDAW report stated that the necessity of travel for abortion healthcare was untenable. Until we get abortion laws that uphold and do not breach our human rights, this inequality will continue.
0333 2342184 - Central Booking System Number