Bradshaw calls for urgent mechanism to deliver on abortion requirement

South Belfast MLA Paula Bradshaw has called for a mechanism to be put in place urgently for MLAs to work with MPs to deliver on the requirement passed by Parliament for the UK Government to produce regulations for services to meet the reproductive rights of women in Northern Ireland.

Ms Bradshaw was speaking after the House of Commons backed an amendment by 332-99 calling for the Government to legislate to change abortion law here if an Executive is not formed by October 21.

“Regardless of people’s views on abortion, it has long been recognised abortion law in Northern Ireland, based on legislation passed over 150 years ago, is no longer fit for purpose and does not meet international human rights standards on women’s rights,” she said.

“Parliament has now clearly recognised this and has instructed the UK Government to act, as was already required under the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Additionally, Northern Ireland Ministers had already started the process at the very least towards legislating to allow for termination in the case of fatal foetal abnormality.

“This is a complex matter but there can be no further delay. We must be at the process by the October deadline for an Executive to be formed either to legislate in Northern Ireland to meet the requirements established by CEDAW with regard to abortion and women’s rights, or the UK Government has to take over the responsibility for legislating on this matter as a matter of urgency and as required now by law. The best way to do this is for a mechanism to be established to enable MLAs and MPs to work together now towards that goal.”