Funding and politics hit N.Ireland abortion services

by Akshata KAPOOR, AFP
July 4, 2022

Campaigners in Northern Ireland are closely watching US moves to restrict abortion, particularly concerns that women will now have to travel across states for terminations.

Abortion was only decriminalised in the British province in 2019 — 42 years after terminations were made legal up to 24 weeks in most circumstances in the rest of the UK.

Continued: https://www.macaubusiness.com/funding-and-politics-hit-n-ireland-abortion-services/


Women in Northern Ireland Still Struggle to Access Abortion More Than 2 Years After Decriminalization

BY KRISTEN CHICK/BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND
JUNE 30, 2022

When Katie Boyd decided to have an abortion in November, she thought the process would be smooth. She had celebrated when abortion was decriminalized in Northern Ireland two years earlier, in October 2019, and two years on, it seemed logical that abortion care would now be readily available.

Boyd, 40, called a hotline intended to connect those seeking abortion with care, and was told she’d receive a call within five days from a clinic that could provide an early medication abortion. But five days went by with no call. Her follow-up calls begging for direct contact information for the clinic got her nowhere. As the days turned into weeks, Boyd began to panic.

Continued: https://time.com/6192022/northern-ireland-abortion-access/


It isn’t just the US: abortion barriers in Britain are forcing women to travel miles for treatment

In Scotland and Northern Ireland, access to second-trimester abortions still depends on a damaging postcode lottery

Rachel Connolly
Wed 22 Jun 2022

When a draft supreme court decision was leaked in May showing that judges intended to overturn Roe v Wade, many in the UK reacted with outrage. Rightly so: such a law change would leave abortion rules up to individual states. Rights groups estimate that abortion could become illegal in about half the states if this is successful. Americans would be forced to travel to states where it was still legal, or order costly abortion medicine online, risking severe legal consequences by doing so. Overturning Roe v Wade would probably also inspire anti-choice campaign groups to pursue legal action elsewhere in the world.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jun/22/abortion-hierarchy-uk-lack-of-services-scotland-northern-ireland-england-terminate-pregnancy


UK government preparing to override Northern Ireland on abortion services

Northern Irish executive has not commissioned any services since terminations became legal in 2019

Alexandra Topping, The Guardian
Thu 24 Mar 2022

The UK government is taking legal steps to override the Northern Ireland executive and directly instruct the nation’s health trusts to provide abortion services, saying it will “take the necessary powers” to directly commission services if urgent progress is not made.

The secretary for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, set out the UK government’s legislative options in strong language on Thursday, after it became “increasingly clear” that the Northern Ireland Department of Health (NI DoH) will miss the end of March deadline to fully commission abortion services in the country.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/mar/24/uk-government-to-override-northern-ireland-on-abortion-services


NI secretary can direct establishment of abortion services, judge rules

Anti-abortion group claimed only elected representatives in North should decide on issue

Tue, Feb 8, 2022,
Alan Erwin

The Northern Ireland secretary has the legal authority to direct the establishment of abortion services in the region, a judge as ruled at Belfast High Court.

Mr Justice Colton rejected a challenge by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) to Brandon Lewis’ powers to impose a deadline on Stormont for putting in place a centralised system.

Continued: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/ni-secretary-can-direct-establishment-of-abortion-services-judge-rules-1.4796919


Abortion: DUP bill to stop terminations for non-fatal disabilities rejected

By Jayne McCormack, BBC News NI political correspondent
Dec 14, 2021

A DUP bill to prevent abortions in Northern Ireland in cases of non-fatal disabilities has effectively fallen after a tight vote at Stormont.

Assembly members (MLAs) voted by 45 to 42 to reject the principles of the bill after its consideration stage debate.

Continued: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-59660274


Sinn Féin welcomes call for progress on Northern Ireland abortion services

DUP and Ulster Unionist opposition to 2019 legislation is ‘shameful and disgraceful’, says Michelle O’Neill

Lisa O'Carroll
Thu 28 Oct 2021

Sinn Féin has welcomed a demand by the British government for progress on the introduction of abortion services in Northern Ireland, as the party denounced Democratic Unionist opposition to the provisions as “shameful and disgraceful”.

Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister, Michelle O’Neill, accused the DUP and the Ulster Unionist party of trying to reverse legislation imposed by Westminster in 2019, which provided for terminations in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/oct/28/sinn-fein-welcomes-mps-call-for-progress-on-northern-ireland-abortion-services


Northern Ireland Office may directly instruct trusts to offer abortion services

Exclusive: Brandon Lewis warns he will soon have ‘no alternative but to take further steps’ to ensure services are provided

Jessica Elgot Chief political correspondent
Wed 27 Oct 2021

Brandon Lewis could override the Northern Ireland executive and directly instruct the nation’s health trusts to provide abortion services, warning leaders in a leaked letter that the continued delay is unacceptable conduct in public office.

The Northern Ireland secretary wrote to the first minister, Paul Givan, and his deputy, Michelle O’Neill, warning he would soon “have no alternative but to take further steps to ensure that women and girls have access to abortion services as decided by parliament, and to which they have a right”.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/oct/27/northern-ireland-office-may-directly-instruct-trusts-to-offer-abortion-services


NI Secretary fails to comply with duties over abortion law

By Michael Fitzpatrick, BBC News NI
October 14, 2021

A High Court judge has ruled the secretary of state for Northern Ireland has failed to comply with his duty to provide abortion services to women in Northern Ireland "expeditiously."

However Mr Justice Colton declined to compel Brandon Lewis to make abortion services available. He also dismissed claims against the Department of Health and the Executive Committee.

Continued: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-58910720


N. Ireland – Abortion: Stormont has ‘no duty’ to follow Westminster order

By Jayne McCormack, BBC News NI political correspondent
Oct 4, 2021

Stormont departments have "no duty" to follow a government direction to set up abortion services in NI, the High Court in Belfast has heard.

The remarks were made by John Larkin QC during the start of a second legal challenge over abortion laws.

In July, political disagreement in the executive led the government to impose a deadline to establish services by next March.

Continued: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-58765851