Rachael Clarke, Public Affairs and Advocacy Manager at BPAS, said:
“BPAS fully supports the right of healthcare professionals not to provide abortion care if they conscientiously object to doing so. What we don’t support is the obstruction of women trying to access legal services. Healthcare workers have a professional obligation, where they themselves are unable to provide care, to ensure that patients have accurate information and can access care without delay.
“Conscientious objection itself does not, we believe, pose a serious threat to provision in Northern Ireland. We have seen in Ireland that despite threats from anti-choice groups, hundreds of healthcare professionals are willing and happy to conscientiously provide the care that their patients need. The Supreme Court has also been very clear that conscientious objection only extends to the individual right to opt out of ‘hands-on’ provision and not any of the work required to administrate or support those providing a service.
“We would support any proposal to bring conscientious objection law in Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the UK – because women deserve better than to be treated by those who think that what they’re doing is wrong.”
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Notes to Editors:
BPAS is a charity which sees more than 80,000 women a year for reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception, at clinics across the UK. It supports and advocates for reproductive choice. More information can be found at bpas.org.