I fully support women having access to legal and safe healthcare services, including abortion.
The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) report (2018) found that “thousands of women and girls in Northern Ireland are subjected to grave and systematic violations of rights through being compelled to either travel outside Northern Ireland to procure a legal abortion or to carry their pregnancy to term.”
Abortion was legalised in Northern Ireland in October 2019, but women in the region have still not achieved equality with the rest of the UK. Just last month, reports stated that over two years on, women in Northern Ireland are still not able to access abortion services, ranging from patchy in areas to non-existent.
The Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2022 (SI, 2022, No. 554) that the House of Commons will vote on today makes provision allowing the Secretary of State to ensure that specific recommendations in the CEDAW report are implemented in respect of Northern Ireland.
Since being elected, I have voted in favour of supporting women in Northern Ireland’s access to safe, legal abortion services (Abortion (Northern Ireland) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 and Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2021). I have been paired for today’s vote, but rest assured, I will continue to stand up for women in Northern Ireland’s abortion rights.