bpas comment on Northern Ireland’s proposed changes to allow abortion in cases of fatal foetal anomaly announced today:
“This consultation is a small step towards a small group of women in Northern Ireland being able to access abortion care in their own country.
The cases of women who are ending a much wanted pregnancy because of a fatal foetal anomaly are among the most heartbreaking we see, and we of course welcome any progress that is made to better support these women and their families.
However, these proposed changes will do nothing to help the vast majority of Northern Irish women who are forced to travel abroad every day for abortion care, and it is shameful that their government continues to ignore their health needs.
We are also concerned that, given this consultation was scheduled for Easter 2014, any changes will take an extremely long time to come in to force, prolonging the suffering of Northern Irish women. We hope that the government is committed to acting on the outcome of the consultation as soon as possible, rather than merely using it as a method of procrastination.
It is unacceptable that women in Northern Ireland continue to be denied the same rights to abortion care as those in the rest of the UK, and that their government appears content to continue to impose great financial and emotional hardship on their citizens. The government needs to act now and provide Northern Irish women with the essential healthcare services they need at home.”
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The consultation, announced today, can be accessed here.
bpas is a charity which provides reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception from more than 40 centres across the UK. It supports and advocates for reproductive choice.