Alliance for Choice were pleased to see the issue of abortion raised in Parliamentary Questions today by Labour MP Stella Creasy. However we were extremely disappointed with the response from Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley.
Co-Chair Emma Campbell said, “We know from a number of opinion polls, and academic research such as the Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey and the Abortion as a Workplace issue report, that the majority of people in Northern Ireland want to see criminal sanctions removed from abortion.”
There has been no attempt to address the legal framework of abortion access in Northern Ireland, and no movement on bringing abortion healthcare in Northern Ireland in line with World Health Organisation and United Nations committee, CEDAW’s minimum recommendations and finally no acknowledgement of the pain and heartache caused by the lack of abortion healthcare in this jurisdiction.
Danielle Roberts explained, “While abortion was devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly under the Criminal Justice remit, Westminster remains the state party responsible for the human rights of women, girls and pregnant people in Northern Ireland. This has been highlighted as recently as February 2018 by the CEDAW report on its inquiry into the human rights breaches in abortion access in Northern Ireland. We are also waiting on an imminent ruling from the Supreme Court on the matter.”
Recently a Central Booking Service has been put in place to fund the treatment of abortion seekers, yet we know this does not fully address the matter as we receive calls frequently from those who cannot travel and need to access abortion pills online.
Emma Campbell concluded, “Let’s not forget also, the 10’s of thousands of women and pregnant people who have voted with their feet and travelled with their friends and families to England, demonstrating quietly en masse, the need for substantial change.”