Bradshaw: Executive’s lack of action on abortion reform unacceptable

Paula Bradshaw MLA has said the Executive’s continued lack of action over how the issue of abortion is tackled in Northern Ireland is ‘completely unacceptable’.

The Alliance Party’s Health spokesperson was speaking after meeting with Sarah Ewart, as it was revealed a working group due to examine the issue of abortion in Northern Ireland had so far failed to meet.

Paula Bradshaw MLA said: “It is completely unacceptable that plans for this working group have seemingly been shelved, leaving women and families who are dealing with fatal foetal abnormality in pregnancy completely unsupported.

“It is particularly interesting that the Health Minister has suggested she’ll be meeting with the Justice Minister in coming weeks to move the issue forward – especially as the Justice Minister has confirmed in a written answer to my colleague David Ford that she is ‘yet to establish’ if support exists within the Executive ‘for any such legislative change’.

“In the last mandate my colleagues worked to move this issue forward, with then Justice Minister David Ford proposing legislation at the Executive table in June 2015 – however to date no legislation has come forward.

“And again earlier this year my colleagues Trevor Lunn and Stewart Dickson sought to amend the final justice bill, only for their amendment to be voted down, leaving many women with no option but to continue the pregnancy or make the journey across the Irish Sea to seek a termination.

“I’ve given my assurances to Sarah Ewart that she can continue to count on my support to move the issue of FFA forward and I’ll be raising my concerns as a matter of urgency at the health committee later this week.”

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