Katherine O’Brien, Associate Director at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, bpas, said:
“The decriminalisation of abortion marks a momentous victory for women’s rights in Northern Ireland. It is a testament to the years of hard work by campaigners, healthcare professionals, and hundreds of women who have bravely spoken out about the impact of their country’s draconian abortion law. Bpas is proud to have been able to provide abortion care for thousands of women from Northern Ireland in our clinics in England since 1968, but we have always been clear that women must be able to access that care at home.
“Following this important legislative change, the Secretary of State must now publish the consultation to begin the process of creating a framework for accessible, fully funded local abortion services. Decriminalisation does not mean deregulation, and abortion will be governed in the same way as all other medical and clinical procedures, on the basis of guidelines and standards set by professional and medical bodies. Healthcare professionals have operated under one of the strictest abortion laws in the world in Northern Ireland, and training must be made available as a matter of urgency for those who require it in order to provide the abortion care their patients need.
“Bpas will continue to provide a Central Booking Service for women and healthcare professionals seeking to arrange abortion care in England. As of 22nd October 2019, the UK Government will fund all travel and accommodation for all women from Northern Ireland seeking abortion care in England. Any woman considering travelling to England until abortion services are fully established in Northern Ireland should call 0333 234 2184.”
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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.