Dickson gives cautious welcome to abortion guideline news

Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson has given a “cautious welcome” to news guidelines on abortion are to be published but added a change in the law may be needed to see reform here.

East Antrim MLA Mr Dickson was speaking after the Executive announced an agreement on the move, as well as the working group being established by Health Minister Simon Hamilton now including the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Last month, Mr Dickson and party colleague Trevor Lunn MLA submitted an amendment to the Justice Bill seeking reform of the law around termination in cases of fatal foetal abnormality (FFA). However, the amendment fell.

“I give a cautious welcome to this news,” said Mr Dickson.

“The inclusion of the DOJ in the working group will help, as Justice Minister David Ford has consulted extensively on the issue of abortion and previously proposed to the Executive it should agree legislation to allow abortion in cases of FFA.

However, I still believe guidelines alone will not suffice in order to achieve the reform needed to help women who experience FFA. Only a change in the law will have the necessary effect and would see the major step forward for women’s healthcare Northern Ireland needs.”

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