News Worms
News Worms

Abortions for Northern Irish women free on NHS, MPs told

Abortions for Northern Irish women free on NHS, MPs told

Following Stella Creasy's attempt to amend the Queen's speech, the government has offered a new commitment to fund abortions for Northern Irish women on the NHS in England and Wales.

In a case brought by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, a judge also made a formal declaration that the legislation is incompatible with the UK's obligations under the Human Rights Act. Just 16 women were allowed abortions in Northern Ireland past year, while others are forced to carry to full term pregnancies they may never have intended, do not want, or can not afford or resort to risky abortions or, alternatively, travel to elsewhere in the United Kingdom or Europe at great cost for private procedures.

Following the announcement, Creasy wrote on Twitter: "Thank you to MPs on all sides who supported call for change to help Northern Irish women have equal access to abortion".

However, it is thought that today's announcement will be enough to satisfy Tory MPs enough to ensure that Ms Creasy's amendment does not pass, or she withdraws it.

This was confirmed in a letter to MPs from Justine Greening, minister for women and equalities, who said: "I share the concerns of many colleagues about the experience of women from Northern Ireland obtaining an abortion through the NHS in England".

"This is a hugely positive step forward, but there is no reason why these services shouldn't be provided in Northern Ireland, saving thousands of women each year the cost and stress of travelling to the mainland". Earlier today the Belfast Court of Appeal voted on whether or not Northern Ireland's restrictive abortion laws breach the human rights of women and girls.

Indeed, the situation in Northern Ireland remains the same.

Attorney General John Larkin QC and the Department of Justice were both appealing a groundbreaking finding that abortion laws in Northern Ireland on terminations is unlawful.

A vote to give free abortions to Northern Irish women poses a threat to U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May because it risks turning Democratic Unionist lawmakers against her on the same week the religiously conservative party agreed to prop her up in Parliament. While this would not address the lack of free, safe and legal abortion services in Northern Ireland, and would still require women to travel at least some of the financial stress would be removed.

The Government Equalities Office, coupled with the UK's Department Of Health, will be receiving additional funding to make this possible.

Several amendments to the Queen's Speech go up for a vote on Thursday.

In the third tabled amendment to the Government's legislative programme Labour will challenge MPs to back a "jobs first" Brexit delivering the "exact same benefits" of the European single market and customs union in the final round of House of Commons votes on the Queen's Speech.


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