UK – MPs back abortion clinic buffer zone law

Oct 18, 2022

Plans to enforce buffer zones around abortion clinics in England and Wales have been backed by MPs.

Under the proposed law, harassing, obstructing or interfering with any woman attending an abortion clinic would become a criminal offence.

Protesters found guilty of breaching 150-metre buffer zones around clinics would face up to six months in jail.

Continued: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-63302710


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/


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


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


The Reality of Abortion in Northern Ireland

Consistent vetoes have blocked the power-sharing government from passing abortion reform in Northern Ireland.

By Julia Canney
Jun 18, 2021

In April, the UK House of Commons formally approved a new directive requiring Northern Ireland’s Department of Health to take “concrete steps” to ensure full abortion services in the north before summer. The directive, which came after years of pressure from inside and outside the north, is the result of the Northern Ireland executive’s delay in commissioning services that were formally decriminalized in 2019.

It is time for Northern Ireland’s secretary of state, Brandon Lewis, to ensure that reproductive rights in the north are safe, legal and accessible to all who need them. The complicated politics of Northern Ireland have led to this dilemma of jurisdiction. The House of Commons was able to decriminalize abortion services in the north specifically because there was no sitting Northern Ireland executive in Stormont. However, now that there has been a sitting government in Stormont for over a year, many are calling for an end to the executive’s stall tactics.

Continued: https://www.fairobserver.com/region/europe/julia-canney-northern-ireland-abortion-rights-ireland-news-irish-abortion-news-23840/


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.

Continued: https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/ni-health-trust-pauses-abortion-service-referrals-due-to-shortage-of-nurses-40349454.html


N. Ireland – Free, safe, legal, local

Emma Campbell describes the long fight for reproductive rights in Northern Ireland

March 24, 2021
Emma Campbell

Northern Ireland has finally emerged from the shadow of a British law that wreaked untold misery on the island of Ireland. On 22 October 2019, tired but buoyed, we celebrated that people were no longer at risk of being charged with a criminal offence for accessing an abortion. After a long struggle, the women of Northern Ireland now have the best abortion law in the UK and Ireland.

Sections 58 and 59 of the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act criminalised doctors and abortion seekers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland with punishment up to ‘penal servitude for life’. This remained in place until the 1967 Abortion Act allowed abortion to carried out legally in certain circumstances, even if it wasn’t fully decriminalised.

Continued: https://www.redpepper.org.uk/alliance-for-change/


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.

Continued: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-56485487


Abortion in Northern Ireland: at the interface between politics and law

22 March 2021
by Anurag Deb, UK Human Rights Blog

Abortion reform in Northern Ireland has had a fraught history, to say the least. Matters appeared to finally come to a head when in 2019, the UK Parliament enacted the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc.) Act 2019 (2019 Act), which created a duty on the Secretary of State to implement abortion reform by following the report of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination of Women (CtteEDAW). Nearly two years and two statutory instruments later, Stormont finds itself mired in fresh controversy as long-term abortion facilities in Northern Ireland have yet to be commissioned. So the obvious question arises: what happened?

Continued: https://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2021/03/22/abortion-in-northern-ireland-at-the-interface-between-politics-and-law/


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”.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/mar/20/northern-ireland-women-abortion-rights-stormont-westminster