Northern Ireland abortion service facing axe if funding not secured

Charity’s plea for help and says messages to Health Minister have gone unanswered

Lisa Smyth
June 22 2021

Early medical abortions look set to be axed in Northern Ireland, meaning women will have to travel to England, pay for the service, or access the treatment over the internet.

In the latest blow for the campaign for safe and equitable healthcare for women, Informing Choices NI (ICNI) has said it will be forced to withdraw the access system if funding is not made available by this October.


UK Government Will Force Northern Ireland To Implement Abortion Services “Sooner Rather Than Later”

Adam Payne
19 June 2021

Brandon Lewis has warned Stormont he is running out patience over its failure to implement abortion services in Northern Ireland and will not wait much longer to intervene.

The secretary of state for Northern Ireland told PoliticsHome that while he wanted to give the Executive and Assembly "space" to roll out abortion services, he was "not going to wait very long".


Abortion in NI: Delays to introducing full services ‘deeply troubling’, court hears

By Jayne McCormack, BBC News NI Political Reporter
May 26, 2021

Delays in implementing Northern Ireland's abortion laws have been a "deeply troubling exercise in finger-pointing", a court has heard.

Abortion became legal in 2020, following a vote by MPs during the collapse of devolution.

Stormont has since been under pressure to establish a permanent, central abortion service, but this has not happened yet.


Abortion: London wants ‘concrete steps’ towards NI services by summer

Apr 26, 2021

The Department of Health must take "concrete steps" towards commissioning full abortion services in NI before the summer, a government minister has said.

Robin Walker said the secretary of state stands ready to act if significant progress is not made.


NI health trust pauses abortion service referrals due to shortage of nurses

Eimear McGovern 
April 23 2021

A Northern Ireland health trust has paused abortion service referrals due to a shortage of nurses and medical support.

The Western Trust said yesterday that referrals would no longer be accepted until further options can be explored to provide the service, adding they were working to minimise any disruption.


Westminster steps in after Northern Ireland fails to comply with abortion law change – how it happened

April 1, 2021
Claire Pierson

Abortion was decriminalised in Northern Ireland in October 2019. In March the following year, the legal framework was in place to provide terminations. A year later, though, it hasn’t happened. The Department of Health in Northern Ireland hasn’t provided a clear plan to commission permanent abortion services that would ensure provision would be budgeted for and available throughout all of Northern Ireland.

Now Westminster has had to intervene to ensure women in Northern Ireland can access abortion services they are legally entitled to. Abortions can be carried out in all circumstances up to week 12 of pregnancy, until week 24 if continuing the pregnancy would risk injury to the woman’s physical or mental health, and without a time limit in cases of severe or fatal foetal abnormality or risk to the life of the pregnant woman.


Call for abortion protest ‘exclusion zones’ in Northern Ireland

By Jayne McCormack, BBC News NI Political Reporter
March 31, 2021

Exclusion zones should be introduced outside sexual health clinics and pregnancy counselling centres in NI to protect staff and women accessing services, a report has said.

Protests and demonstrations would not be allowed within the zones.


N. Ireland – Abortion: New powers not taken lightly, says Brandon Lewis

Published March 23, 2021

The decision to introduce new powers compelling Stormont to implement abortion laws has not been taken lightly, Brandon Lewis has said.

The government has published regulations allowing the NI secretary to direct commissioning of central abortion services in NI.


DUP criticises Westminster’s ‘unacceptable’ move on abortion in North

Northern Ireland secretary set to have power to force roll-out of abortion services in region

Sun, Mar 21, 2021

A move to direct the commissioning of abortion services in Northern Ireland is an “over-reach” of the secretary of state’s powers, the DUP has said.

The British government is set to take legislative action at Westminster this week to give Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis the powers to force Stormont’s Department of Health to roll out abortion services across the region.


Northern Ireland’s women won abortion rights but its politicians won’t accept that

After Stormont voted to restrict abortion rights, Westminster is intervening to secure the services women are legally entitled to

Susan McKay
20 Mar 2021

Northern Ireland is no country for young women. Out of 87 members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) at Stormont last week, just 12 voted to allow women the right to choose abortion in line with international human rights standards. These are built into a law smuggled into NI while the institutions in Belfast were collapsed in acrimony in 2019, following an inspiring collective effort by local feminists and the British Labour MP Stella Creasy. Jubilant, proud, relieved and tearful, women stood at Stormont with banners that said, simply, “Decriminalised”.