To ask Her Majesty's Government how many women have travelled to the British mainland to receive abortion care since the establishment of a legal framework for abortion in Northern Ireland on 31 March 2020.
21 June 2021
The Department of Health and Social Care has now published the 2020 statistics on abortion in England and Wales. In 2020, there were 371 abortions in England and Wales for women from Northern Ireland.
I would note that over 1,100 women and girls have been able to access local abortion services since April last year - and this should not be overlooked at a time where the services have not been formally commissioned. It is, however, very distressing to hear that even throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, some women and girls have still been forced to travel, at a time where it is even more crucial for local access to healthcare to be available. We put on record our thanks to the medical professionals who have ensured that women and girls have had some access to abortion services in Northern Ireland to date, and the organisations that have supported this work.
However, progress must be made towards properly commissioning services so that safe, local abortion services are fully available as a healthcare service in Northern Ireland. The current situation is not acceptable. If there continues to be no progress, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland will issue a direction using his powers under the Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2021, to ensure that services are commissioned and delivered according to the 2018 Report of the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.