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.


UK ministers face legal action over lack of abortion services in Northern Ireland

Exclusive: government accused of failing to ensure access more than a year after terminations legalised

Alexandra Topping
Sun 10 Jan 2021

Northern Ireland’s human rights commission (NIHRC) has launched a landmark legal action against the UK government for its failure to commission safe and accessible abortion services more than a year after abortion was made legal in the country, the Guardian can reveal.

The Northern Ireland secretary, Brandon Lewis, is accused of unlawfully denying the rights of women in the country, who experts warn are being forced to use unregulated services and to travel to high-risk areas during the pandemic. The NIHRC is also taking action against the Northern Ireland Executive and the country’s Department of Health.


Northern Ireland: Abortion services cease at South Eastern Trust following Health Department failure

05 Jan 2021

Amnesty International has learned that Northern Ireland’s South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust has stopped referrals to their early medical abortion service as of today (5 January) due to the failure of Department of Health to commission and resource services.

Despite abortion regulations taking effect from March 2020, the Department of Health’s failure to commission services means that health trusts have been left to absorb the costs and resource abortion care themselves, whilst battling through a pandemic.


Northern Ireland health chiefs accused over lack of abortion care

Patrick Corrigan, Lisa
January 06 2021

Health bosses have been accused of failing more than a third of a million
people amid claims an abortion service has been stopped.

Amnesty International said a failure by the Health Minister to commission
services and provide funding has forced the South Eastern Trust to cease the
provision of vital abortion care.


Abortion regulations remain in place says NI Office

Abortion regulations remain in place says NI Office

Brendan Hughes
09 May, 2020

ABORTION regulations introduced in Northern Ireland remain in place despite a delay to a Westminster vote, the British Government has said.

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) said the regulations introduced on March 31 continue to apply.

It follows confusion over a delay in parliamentary procedures which prompted claims from anti-abortion activists that the regulations had been withdrawn.


UK Government vote on NI abortion regulations put on hold

UK Government vote on NI abortion regulations put on hold

May 08 2020

The UK Government’s vote on controversial abortion regulations in Northern Ireland has been put on hold.

However, the regulations put forward by Secretary of State Brandon Lewis at the end of March continue to apply.


Stormont: Brandon Lewis exceeded powers in introducing abortion regulations

Stormont: Brandon Lewis exceeded powers in introducing abortion regulations
Legal adviser says it is doubtful legislation gives adequate protection to those opposed

April 26, 2020

The Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis exceeded his powers in introducing abortion regulations, Stormont’s chief legal adviser has said.

It is doubtful whether the legislation gives adequate European Convention on Human Rights-based protection to the rights of those opposed on religious or philosophical grounds, attorney general John Larkin QC added.


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.


N. Ireland – Coronavirus: Woman can travel to England for abortions, Secretary of State says

Coronavirus: Woman can travel to England for abortions, Secretary of State says
Abortion was decriminalised in Northern Ireland last October following legislation passed by Westminster.

Rebecca Black, Press Association
06 April, 2020

The Secretary of State has suggested it is appropriate for women to travel to England to seek terminations during the coronavirus lockdown.

Strict abortion laws were overturned on March 31 after MPs voted for a change in the law last year.

Decisions have not yet been made by Stormont officials on how to put the new legislation into practice.