Bradshaw joins protest to stop ‘rape clause’ in Northern Ireland

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has attended a rally calling for the overturn of the so-called ‘rape clause,’ which effectively sees new claimants having to prove a child has been conceived via rape if they wish to claim tax credits for more than two children.

The South Belfast MLA joined the protest at the Department for Communities headquarters in Belfast today (Thursday). She said one of her first pieces of business after being elected as MLA was to contact the Department for Work and Pensions to seek the abolition of the clause, especially in Northern Ireland.

“The clause is appalling, asking women to make recollections which are damaging to their mental wellbeing in order to access benefits to which they should be entitled to in any case. It is exclusively women who are affected by this. For that reason, I am keen to meet MPs and others to try to get the clause stopped everywhere.

“In the extreme case the UK Government decides to continue with this dreadful policy, at the very least I have requested an incoming Executive be allowed to block the application of the clause here without being deemed to breach parity, given our specific circumstances around the unavailability of impartial advice to women in crisis pregnancies.

“Clearly it would be easier to campaign against this if the parties required to form an Executive got on with the job, but I will continue to be a strong advocate for women’s rights on this matter and others regardless of the political set-up.”

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