Alliance Justice spokesperson Stewart Dickson MLA has said the decision to reject the amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill, that would have restricted the ability of a patient to elect where they avail of health services, is to be welcomed
Stewart Dickson MLA said: “This amendment is not about the broader law on abortion.
“This was an inappropriate amendment that was tagged onto the back of the Criminal Justice Bill. This was bad legislation that would surely have been challenged in the courts if it was passed.
“The correct way to ensure oversight of private health clinics is for through a robust regulatory health framework, not by passing a law that would create further legal confusion. Alliance believes that the regulation of health services at non Health and Social Care Board premises requires attention and careful consideration. However, this amendment is the wrong way to go about resolving this issue.
“On such a sensitive issue, there is a clear need for a proper and considered consultation process, which this amendment was not subject to. Indeed, in the few short weeks since this amendment has appeared, the strength of feeling, the lobbying, the hundreds of interviews, conversations, blogs, articles and debates have demonstrated the absolute necessity for formal consultation to take place so that all voices can be heard and all opinions expressed in a structured and meaningful way.
“It is sad that an amendment, which by the admission of the proposers is neither pro life nor pro choice, has been hijacked away from the serious issue around health regulation.”