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Over £1 million of taxpayer money spent on flying women from Northern Ireland to England for abortions

The UK Government spent over £1 million in a year funding women from Northern Ireland to go to to England for abortions.

Approximately £1.08 million of taxpayer money was spent in 2018/19 on the cost of abortion procedures, travel and accommodation.

Health and Social Care Minister Helen Whately revealed the figures in response to a parliamentary question by pro-life MP Fiona Bruce.

The figures for 2019/20 could be significantly higher as the Conservative Government announced last year that they would expand the scheme to include any abortion procedure that is legal in England and Wales but not in Northern Ireland.

The Government funding for abortion is in stark contrast to the lack of help offered to women facing an unplanned pregnancy, leaving pro-life charities to step in and provide help.

When asked: “What alternatives to abortion are offered by clinics which provide NHS-funded abortions when providing abortions which are so funded”? The Government responded: “The Department does not directly fund services that provide advice on unplanned or crisis pregnancies.”

The number of women from Northern Ireland who had an abortion in England in 2018/19 was 1,053, an increase of 192 from the previous year.

However, that number is likely to decrease this year as the Government’s extreme abortion regime which allows abortion up to the point of birth for all disabilities – including cleft lip, club foot and Down’s syndrome – was imposed on Northern Ireland last month.

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 that will be imposed on the province just next week. 

In 2017, a poll conducted by Savanta ComRes found 84% wanted improved support for women in crisis pregnancies and 93% of women wanted to see the introduction of independent abortion counselling.

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

“The UK Government should be pursuing incentives that support women in pregnancy, both planned and unplanned.

“Instead, we have a Government that is willing to directly undermined devolution to impose the most extreme abortion law in Europe on Northern Ireland, but has yet to provide additional funding and support for women in crisis pregnancies. 

“The UK Government’s extreme abortion regime allows for disability-selective abortion right up to the point of birth but provide no additional taxpayer funding to support parents who wish to keep their babies diagnosed with a disability. This effectively amounts to a new state-sponsored incentive to abort babies with disabilities late in pregnancy.

“We urge MLAs to bring forward legislation as soon as possible to repeal this extreme change to the law in Northern Ireland and call on the UK Government to introduce policies that support women to keep their babies.”

Dear reader,

You may be surprised to learn that our 24-week abortion time limit is out of line with the majority of European Union countries, where the most common time limit for abortion on demand or on broad social grounds is 12 weeks gestation.

The latest guidance from the British Association of Perinatal Medicine enables doctors to intervene to save premature babies from 22 weeks. The latest research indicates that a significant number of babies born at 22 weeks gestation can survive outside the womb, and this number increases with proactive perinatal care.

This leaves a real contradiction in British law. In one room of a hospital, doctors could be working to save a baby born alive at 23 weeks whilst, in another room of that same hospital, a doctor could perform an abortion that would end the life of a baby at the same age.

The majority of the British population support reducing the time limit. Polling has shown that 70% of British women favour a reduction in the time limit from 24 weeks to 20 weeks or below.

Please click the button below to sign the petition to the Prime Minister, asking him to do everything in his power to reduce the abortion time limit.