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Respond to the NI consultation
on teaching
abortion in schools


This consultation has now closed.

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The Northern Ireland Department of Education has launched a consultation on the circumstances under which a parent/carer may excuse a child from being taught about abortion.

Abortion was forced on Northern Ireland by the UK Government in 2020 despite 79% of respondents to a public consultation opposing its introduction. In June 2023, the UK Government then brought forward regulations forcing schools in Northern Ireland to teach students aged 11 to 16 years old (key stages 3 and 4) about abortion under ‘Relationships and Sexuality Education’ (RSE). This approach was heavily criticised by the highly respected House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee. Unusually, there was no public consultation on the regulations prior to them coming into effect, in contrast to other comparable policy changes, including changes to RSE in England.

Despite this, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris, has claimed that the regulations will “mirror the approach taken in England”. In England, teaching about abortion in schools goes far beyond outlining what the abortion law is and recommended resources teach girls how to get an abortion (including late-term abortions) and how to go about secretly having an abortion without their parents knowing.

This consultation is your opportunity to make your voice heard and call on the Department of Education to ensure parents/carers are able to exempt children from such teaching about abortion.

We have created an easy-to-use tool below that will help you to respond to this consultation. If you use this tool to respond, your response will then automatically be submitted through the consultation website here

The deadline for submitting to the consultation is 23.59 on Friday 24 November 2023.

We have provided the tool to give a way for the public to make a submission that is easy to complete and helps with making the consultation process accessible to more people. Alternatively, if you would like to make a submission using the Northern Ireland Department of Health Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) Consultation website, you can do so here.  

You can find out more about the consultation and how your personal data will be handled by the Northern Ireland Department of Education on the consultation website here.

The consultation has now closed.