June 2016 – Abortion in Northern Ireland

June 2016 – Abortion in Northern Ireland

Thank you for contacting me about the woman who has been charged for purchasing abortion medication on behalf of her daughter in Northern Ireland.

Unfortunately, due to previous commitments I will be unable to attend the parliamentary launch of ‘Abortion in Northern Ireland as a human rights issue’.

I do understand that this is a very distressing case and one that has resulted because of abortion law in Northern Ireland which is different to the rest of the UK.

This is a devolved issue and one over which the Government in Westminster has no jurisdiction. It is therefore up to the people of Northern Ireland and their elected representatives in Stormont to address the need for change.

I know that the Justice Minister, David Ford, has sought to raise the debate about abortion and following a consultation last autumn, the Department for Justice recommended a change to Northern Ireland’s abortion law. However, I understand in February Stormont Assembly Members voted 59 to 40 against amending legislation to allow terminations in cases of fatal foetal abnormality and sexual crime.  You will understand that as an MP for an English constituency, I do not have a vote on this or any other devolved matters in Northern Ireland.  I would urge those concerned to make their views known to the government in Stormont.