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NI MP asks UK govt to impose more extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland

A Northern Ireland MP is calling on the UK Government to impose more extreme abortion measures on the province.

Not content with the fact Westminster has already imposed the most extreme regime anywhere in Europe, Stephen Farry MP is now calling for ‘DIY’ home abortions to be imposed on Northern Ireland by the UK Government.

In a letter to the Minister of State for Northern Ireland Robin Walker, the Alliance Deputy Leader has asked the UK Government to sidestep the Northern Ireland Executive and proceed with imposing a further chance to the law in Northern Ireland that would allow ‘DIY’ home abortions to occur in Northern Ireland.

‘DIY’ home abortions allow women to take both potentially dangerous abortion pills at home by themselves without a doctor or other medical professional present, meaning they will be left to pass their unborn child at home without direct medical supervision.

There has been pressure from English abortion providers Marie Stopes and BPAS to make ‘DIY’ abortions available in Northern Ireland. If telemedicine abortions were allowed in Northern Ireland, these two abortion providers would be able to enter the new Northern Ireland abortion ‘market’ by running the abortion service from their call centres based in England. This would mean that they would not face all the upfront time and costs that would be involved in setting up a physical abortion service in Northern Ireland. Given the Northern Ireland Department of Health have not yet rolled out an abortion service in Northern Ireland, this would leave almost the entire ‘market’ in Northern Ireland to these two abortion providers.

In the biggest change to abortion provision since 1967, the Department of Health and Social Care announced last week that it would allow ‘DIY’ abortions to take place in England for the duration of the coronavirus crisis or after 24 months.

The very substantial temporary change was made without any public consultation, parliamentary scrutiny or debate despite clear prior warnings from the Health Minister that there were significant safety and safeguarding issues for women and young girls with the proposal. 

The change is now the subject of a legal challenge from the Christian Legal Centre, but that hasn’t prevented public health departments in Wales and Scotland from announcing that they will also allow dangerous ‘DIY’ home abortions.

Deputy First Minister and Sinn Fein MLA Michelle O’Neill has called for telemedicine abortions, but First Minister and DUP MLA Arlene Foster has reiterated her opposition to “abortion on demand”.

Ahead of being elected as an MP last year, Stephen Farry signed a pledge from the UK’s largest abortion provider – the British Pregnancy Advisory Service – stating that he would fully support any efforts to introduce legislative changes allowing abortion on demand right up to birth.

He also refused to support the Both Lives pledge from Right To Life UK which called on MPs to support a ban on sex-selective discrimination, to put an end to maternity discrimination and to lower the abortion time limit in line with new guidance.

The Belfast Telegraph reports “there is anger among the pro-choice lobby that the Stormont Executive has not set up termination services.”

Northern Ireland’s abortion laws were overturned on 31 March with an extreme abortion regime imposed on it by the Westminster, following a vote last year.

However, decisions have not yet been made by Stormont officials on how to put the new legislation into practice.

Northern Ireland MLAs have called for an opportunity to introduce new legislation to repeal the new extreme abortion regime.

Additionally, Right To Life UK has launched its SaveLives: Repeal campaign urging Northern Ireland’s politicians to save lives by repealing the extreme abortion regime.

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said: “We urge the Department of Health in Northern Ireland to resist calls from the abortion lobby to introduce dangerous DIY abortions.

“The UK’s biggest abortion providers are exploiting the coronavirus crisis in a bid to enter the new Northern Ireland abortion ‘market’ and expand the number of terminations they can perform. This opportunistic attempt by the BPAS and MSI to circumvent the Northern Ireland Assembly and the people of Northern Ireland – 79% of whom do not want the extreme abortion regime – should be rejected.”

Dear reader,

Ahead of the General Election on 4 July, do you want to find out where your local MP candidates stand on abortion?

You can find out now using our Vote For Both Lives tool, which you can access by clicking the button below.