Alliance says Criminal Justice Bill amendment is not about abortion debate

Alliance East Belfast MLA Judith Cochrane has said that the amendment proposed by Paul Givan and Alban Maginness to the Criminal Justice Bill is not about the rights or wrongs of abortion but rather about restricting the ability of a woman to elect where she can avail of medical services.

She stated that the Alliance Assembly Party would be voting against the amendment.

Judith Cochrane MLA said: “The Alliance Assembly Party will be voting against this amendment. It will not change the law on abortion. This is about denying a person the right to avail of the same health services outside the NHS. Regardless of your view on existing abortion law, the way to ensure public and private health providers remain within the law, is a robust regulatory framework.

“This issue is not about whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, it is about an inappropriate amendment that may not be legally competent.

“The Health Minister has stated his intention to publish guidelines for medical staff. If people want to have a debate on them and on abortion, then they are entitled to do so and for Alliance, we would allow our members to make an individual decision on how they vote. By contrast, this amendment is entirely about who can deliver medical services, whilst remaining in the current law and its interpretation.

“This is effectively restricting the ability of a person to elect to use non-public health care.”


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