Northern Ireland news

Rise in number of women travelling to England for an abortion

There has been a 14 per cent rise in the number of women from Northern Ireland having free NHS abortions in England since charges were abolished by the government last June
Marie Louise McConville

A TOTAL of 553 women from Northern Ireland have had free NHS abortions in England since charges were abolished last June.

This is compared to the 483 women who had private abortions, costing up to £1,400, over a similar period in 2016 - marking a 14 per cent rise in 2017.

The Marie Stopes clinics conducted 363 abortions for women from Northern Ireland in England between June 30 last year and Feburary 28 this year, while the British Pregnancy Advisory Service carried out 190.

Abortion law differs in Northern Ireland in that a termination is only allowed if a woman's life is at risk or there is a serious or permanent risk to her mental health.

Rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormalities are not circumstances in which an abortion can be performed legally.

Labour MP Stella Creasy, who led the campaign for abortion charges to be dropped, is now calling for the government to provide the same level of access in Northern Ireland.

Emma Campbell, from Alliance for Choice, said women faced challenges travelling to England.

"It makes a difference for some people - but it's still just a really unreasonable hurdle for many others, the poorest and most vulnerable," she said.

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