Sexual health charity FPA and Amnesty International have welcomed the launch of an inquiry by the Women and Equalities Committee on abortion in Northern Ireland.
The inquiry will consider the views and experience of women, medical professionals and other experts, and also focus on the UK Government’s international obligations to reform abortion law in Northern Ireland.
Ruairi Rowan, FPA Advocacy Manager, said:
“For 30 years, FPA has provided pregnancy choices and post-abortion counselling. Every day we see the impact that restrictive abortion law has on women and their families. It is unacceptable that women here are being left behind in a regime where abortion is illegal in almost every circumstance. Our work will continue to ensure that access to free, safe and legal abortion is enabled in Northern Ireland.
“We urge all those impacted by the law in Northern Ireland to engage with this inquiry process.”
Grainne Teggart, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Campaign Manager, said:
“This inquiry represents a welcome opportunity for change and will put a firm spotlight on the UK Government’s obligations to women in Northern Ireland. Westminster is ultimately responsible for ensuring that women’s right to abortion is upheld.
“I hope this inquiry will add to the already significant cross-party support for abortion reform in Northern Ireland. Women here cannot continue to be treated as second-class citizens.
“The time has come for deeds, not words. There will be multiple opportunities in this parliament for legislative reform to happen, which must include the decriminalisation of abortion.
“The UK Government cannot continue to ignore the harm caused by the near-total abortion ban that currently exists. Westminster has the power and responsibility to bring Northern Ireland abortion law in to line with international human rights standards. We urge them to do so.”