Ford resubmits private member’s bill on abortion reform

David Ford MLA has resubmitted his private member’s bill on abortion reform.

Mr Ford presented his proposal to the Speaker’s Office late yesterday (Monday) soon after signing the roll of membership to officially become an MLA again. It had been moved in the previous Assembly mandate but was a casualty of the Executive collapse.

The proposed legislation seeks to reform the law around termination of pregnancy in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities (FFA). If passed, it would enable women carrying a foetus with a fatal abnormality to access a termination legally in Northern Ireland. Mr Ford also previously attempted to change the law while Justice Minister.

“A number of years ago, I made a promise to Sarah Ewart I would try to change the law to allow women such as her who wished to have a termination in a case of FFA to do so in Northern Ireland,” he said.

“I previously attempted to bring legislation to the Executive to allow just that. However, other parties blocked that move and failed to accept my recommendations. The recent collapse of the Assembly also stopped my private member’s bill in its tracks, leaving women in those tragic circumstances with no option but to continue the pregnancy or make the traumatic journey across the Irish Sea to seek a termination.

“The surveys and statistics all show the desire is there in Northern Ireland to change the law. We need to help these women and we need to help them now.”

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