I appreciate the strength of feeling about the issue of abortion and I welcome the balanced and sensitive approach the Government has taken. As the Northern Ireland Executive was not restored by 21 October 2019, it remained the UK Government’s legal obligation under section 9 of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019 to bring forward the framework to provide lawful access to abortion services in Northern Ireland by 31 March 2020.
Following a consultation, the Government has now brought forward the new framework. I believe it delivers abortion reform for Northern Ireland consistent with the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women Report recommendations.
The new framework does provide clarity and certainty for medical professionals and also ensures the health and safety of women and girls in Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Minister has met with the Northern Ireland Health Minister as the implementation and commissioning of abortion services will be a matter for the NI Health and Social Care Board to take forward. Further information about the reforms can be found on the Northern Ireland Office website.