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bpas comment on proposals for abortion law reform in Northern Ireland

bpas comment regarding announcement from NI health minister Michelle O'Neill on legislation for fatal foetal anomaly:

A bpas spokesperson said:


"Following the brave decision of a number of Northern Irish women to speak out about their experience of travelling to England for termination for fatal foetal anomaly, there was a real chance to change the law. Polling in 2016 found two-thirds of the public supported reform, and a number of politicians were trying to drive change. So it is extremely disappointing that this opportunity has now fallen.

"Abortion for fatal foetal anomaly are some of the most heartbreaking cases we see in our clinics. That women resident in Northern Ireland are not able to access this care at home, that they are forced to travel to England at a huge personal and financial cost in these tragic circumstances is simply cruel.

"While Ministers are no longer able to bring forward their proposals, they are able to publish the report of the working group for Fatal Foetal Anomaly. Although this will not lead to legislative change immediately future, it may enable the future government to move forward on this issue as soon as possible.

"The recent spate of prosecutions of women in Northern Ireland for ending their own pregnancy has deterred medical professionals from performing abortions even in the very limited circumstances where they would be legal. We know doctors previously would have performed some terminations for fatal foetal anomaly, but are now afraid that in doing so they would be at risk of criminalisation. There has clearly never been a greater need for legislation." 

ENDS

For more information please contact the bpas press office on 0207 061 3377 or email press@bpas.org

About bpas

bpas is a charity which sees more than 70,000 women a year and provides 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