Group Takes Legal Action Over Lack of Abortion Services in Northern Ireland

A human rights group says the government’s inaction has left a health care void in a country where the procedure was legalized in 2019, but remains largely unavailable.

By Megan Specia
Jan. 11, 2021

A human rights group in Northern Ireland is taking legal action against the government over its failure to provide abortion access, the group announced on Monday, highlighting the continuing struggle for safe abortions more than a year after the procedure was legalized in the region.

The organization, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, cited deep concerns about a lack of abortion services, which it says has left a health care void for many women and girls.

Continued: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/11/world/europe/northern-ireland-abortion.html


How the pandemic has affected abortion rules around the world

By Miriam Berger
September 26, 2020

Argentina’s president was expected to propose a landmark law to decriminalize abortion, setting a new standard for Latin America. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit. The release date was delayed, indefinitely.

Ruth Zurbriggen, a reproductive rights activist with the group Socorristas en Red, felt “pain and rage.” But the group’s work continued — efforts, she said, made even more pressing as the pandemic took center stage.

Continued: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/09/26/coronavirus-pandemic-global-abortion-access-reproductive-health


Northern Ireland drags feet on abortion a year after UK orders roll-out

Northern Ireland drags feet on abortion a year after UK orders roll-out

Amanda Ferguson
June 24, 2020

BELFAST (Reuters) - Almost a year after the British parliament voted to legalise abortion in Northern Ireland, one of the last regions in Western Europe with a ban, women there face gaps in provision due to renewed local political roadblocks.

The region's socially conservative health minister Robin Swann has declined to order the health service to provide abortions, commission information campaigns, and also declined to introduce emergency telemedicine measures offered in the rest of the United Kingdom during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.pe.ca/news/world/northern-ireland-drags-feet-on-abortion-a-year-after-uk-orders-roll-out-465720/


Doctors accused of blocking abortions in Northern Ireland despite legalisation

Doctors accused of blocking abortions in Northern Ireland despite legalisation
Patients forced to buy pills online or go overseas for terminations

Lucy Mansfield
Published on Sat 13 Jun 2020

Women seeking abortions in Northern Ireland are still struggling to access services. Although abortion was legalised more than two months ago, claims persist that healthcare professionals are refusing to treat patients.

A leading reproductive rights group and a doctors’ organisation say that GPs are refusing to refer pregnant women to hospital services so they can access the tablets needed to undergo a medical abortion. They are also aware of midwives and nurses refusing to care for patients before and after the procedure.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/13/doctors-accused-of-blocking-abortions-in-northern-ireland-despite-legalisation


Sinn Fein proposes tightening NI abortion legislation over non-fatal disability

SF proposes tightening NI abortion legislation over non-fatal disability
Alliance for Choice says SF move would mean still having to travel for terminations for foetal anomaly diagnoses

Sun, May 31, 2020
Gerry Moriarty

Sinn Féin has indicated a willingness to see some alteration of the new abortion legislation for Northern Ireland that was enacted at Westminster and came into effect at the end of March.

The party has tabled an amendment to a DUP motion on abortion, some of which relates to Down syndrome, that is to be debated in the Northern Assembly on Tuesday.

Continued: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/sf-proposes-tightening-ni-abortion-legislation-over-non-fatal-disability-1.4267082


UK – Like Everything Else, Abortion Needs To Change After This

Like Everything Else, Abortion Needs To Change After This

Vicky Spratt
16 April 2020

Was the Health Secretary Matt Hancock gaslighting women in Britain when he allowed draft legislation permitting at-home abortions during the pandemic we’re currently living through to be published and unpublished? We will never know.

In the end, because of a cacophonous campaign from abortion experts at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and Marie Stopes, the government did a u-turn and confirmed that, for as long as this crisis rages on, women will be able to take abortion medication in the safety and comfort of their own home after a telephone consultation with a doctor (also known as telemedicine).

Continued: https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/2020/04/9700087/abortion-law-change-during-coronavirus


Abortion has come grudgingly to Northern Ireland in the wake of coronavirus

Abortion has come grudgingly to Northern Ireland in the wake of coronavirus
Women are still a pawn in the political game at Stormont and our rights continue to lag far behind the rest of the UK

Anna Cafolla
Mon 13 Apr 2020

Abortion law reform was officially meant to arrive in Northern Ireland on 1 April – having been previously voted on and passed through Westminster when Stormont was still languishing on its hill, all the way back in what might now feel like another astral dimension, October 2019.

In a chaotic timeline of events, Northern Ireland’s health department missed its original April deadline for providing regulations that offer solid access to abortion care. The coronavirus crisis, the ensuing lockdown and widespread pressure on health services were blamed for the delay. But with heel-dragging and wilful ignorance becoming synonymous with Northern Ireland’s leading parties, campaigners and clinicians criticised anti-choice sentiment for slowing down the implementation of abortion services. DUP and UUP assembly members had still been resisting change.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/13/abortion-northern-ireland-coronavirus-women-stormont-rights


Amid COVID-19 pandemic, a landmark week for abortion care access in Northern Ireland

Amid COVID-19 pandemic, a landmark week for abortion care access in Northern Ireland

April 11, 2020
Mary McGill

Belfast — After a chaotic week that saw outcry from pro-choice campaigners and abortion providers on both sides of the Irish Sea, Northern Ireland moved to ensure abortion services will be available during the pandemic. In a statement issued to the media on Thursday, April 9, the region’s Department of Health said medical professionals were now permitted to “terminate pregnancies lawfully.” The statement also claimed that the rollout of abortion services, which were meant to have been legally available beginning March 31, had been impacted by the pandemic and “the urgent need to focus resources on preparing the health and social care system for the surge in cases.”

The government’s decision comes after a tumultuous two weeks in which abortion services were supposed to be operational yet remained inaccessible through Northern Ireland’s health service.

Continued: https://womensmediacenter.com/women-under-siege/amid-covid-19-pandemic-a-landmark-week-for-abortion-care-access-in-northern-ireland


Northern Ireland confirms abortions can now be carried out

Northern Ireland confirms abortions can now be carried out
Services should have been available since 31 March, prompting claims of stalling

Henry McDonald
Thu 9 Apr 2020

Northern Ireland authorities confirmed on Thursday that abortions can now be carried out in the province’s hospitals, following threatened legal action by pro-choice groups.

Health officials signalled that terminations could go ahead after allegations that local anti-choice politicians were stalling implementation of a ruling that provided for services to be introduced by the end of March.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/09/northern-ireland-confirms-abortions-can-now-be-carried-out


Northern Irish women told to sail to England for abortions despite pandemic

Northern Irish women told to sail to England for abortions despite pandemic

Amanda Ferguson, Reuters
April 7, 2020

BELFAST — Northern Irish women seeking an abortion have been told they must take an 8-hour ferry to England despite the lockdown, as the regional government resists pressure to offer abortions locally and the coronavirus pandemic stops flights.

Abortion was decriminalized in Northern Ireland last year after the British parliament bypassed opposition from socially conservative Christian politicians in Belfast to bring the region into line with the rest of the United Kingdom, where abortion has been legal for decades.

Continued: https://nationalpost.com/pmn/health-pmn/northern-irish-women-told-to-sail-to-england-for-abortions-despite-pandemic