Please contact your MP to ask them to add their support to the campaign to allow Northen Irish women access to free abortion care on the NHS in Britain. You can identify and contact your MP using upmystreet, or write to them at House of Commons, London, SW1 0AA. Women in Northern Ireland do not have access to safe, legal and free abortion unless their life is at risk. Currently those who can afford to pay to travel from NI to Britain and pay hundreds of pounds for an abortion in the independent sector. Many are forced to have a later abortion than they would want and are forced into debt with loan sharks or worse. Thousands of women cannot afford this option and are forced into motherhood. This denial of basic reproductive rights impacts most on poorer, younger and other vulnerable women.
In 1999 and July 2008, the United Nations Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, (CEDAW) stated that the lack of access to abortion had detrimental consequences for women’s health, and legally required the UK and Northern Ireland Governments to organise a public consultation on the issue. For a decade, the government has not acted. In October 2008 time was not given in Parliament to debate and vote on proposals to allow Northern Irish women rights, despite high profile campaigning and significant public support .
The Northern Ireland Equality Commission last year recommended that women should have ‘the same access to reproductive health care services and rights in Northern Ireland as are available in Great Britain’ in its submission to the CEDAW Committee.