Since the landmark decriminalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland in 2019, and despite Regulations passed in Westminster in March 2020, the Department of Health in Northern Ireland has yet to centrally commission this essential reproductive healthcare.
Clare Murphy, Chief Executive of BPAS, said:
“Women in Northern Ireland need access to the abortion services they were promised more than a year ago, and we welcome the steps taken today. No-one should be forced to make the physically and emotionally arduous trip to our clinics in Great Britain to obtain the care and support which should be available to them at home – least of all during a pandemic. We are facing a bizarre situation in which abortion has been decriminalised in Northern Ireland yet is still unavailable for many; while abortion remains in criminal law in the UK, yet more women than ever have been able to access the care they need, thanks to temporary changes made during the pandemic. Abortion is not a crime, it is a standard part of reproductive healthcare. It should be decriminalised across the UK, and the services made available to match - from Belfast to Brighton.”
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BPAS is a charity that sees almost 100,000 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.
BPAS also runs the Centre for Reproductive Research and Communication, which seeks to develop and deliver a research agenda that furthers women’s access to evidence-based reproductive healthcare, driven by an understanding of women’s perspectives and needs. You can find out more here.
BPAS intends to launch a not-for-profit fertility service in Autumn 2021, to provide ethical, evidence-based, person-centred care that supports patients. We intend to only charge what it costs to provide a safe, high-quality, and accessible service to patients who may be unable to access NHS-funded care.