Green Party Women

Emergency motion on abortion law in Northern Ireland

8 September 2008

The Green Party conference in London has called on Westminster MPs to back the extension of abortion law that applies in England, Scotland and Wales to Northern Ireland.


It noted that women in Northern Ireland were forced to travel outside their region, and were legally forced to pay for an abortion, but that amendments moved in relation to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, expected to be debated next month, would give them the same rights as women in the rest of the UK.


A spokeswoman for Green Party Women said: "It is a disgrace that women in Northern Ireland suffer discrimination as
compared to other women in the UK, as a result of it not being included under the 1967 abortion law.
"It is particularly the young, the poor and the otherwise disadvantaged who have to find many hundreds of pounds to cover the
cost of travel and medical treatment, but all women are penalised through the forced delays in abortions that they have already decided to have.

"Over the 40 years that the 1967 act has applied to the rest of the UK, almost 50,000 women have had to pay the expenses and deal with the disruption to their lives caused by the need to travel for an abortion, and at least five deaths have been attributed to unsafe abortions. Last year officially more than 1,300 women giving Northern Ireland addresses paid for private abortions in England."


She added:  "The Green Party doesn't believe that the current abortion law in England, Scotland and Wales is adequate, and it also supports other amendments to be debated next month that would remove the two-doctor rule, allow nurses and midwives to carry out abortions, and remove other medically unnecessary restrictions. But ending the discrimination in Northern Ireland, even if only allowing women there the access available to other UK women, would be an important step to
fairness and equity.

"This issue has not been devolved to Northern Ireland (as it hasn't been devolved to Scotland), so it is the responsibility of all MPs to act to restore equality for the women of Northern Ireland."







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