Open letter to Northern Ireland Secretary of State
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Chris Heaton Harris
Dear Secretary of State,
Today marks three years since abortion was decriminalised in Northern Ireland, and yet commissioned abortion services are still not set up in the region.
We urge you to establish these without further delay – we cannot continue to wait.
The continued lack of abortion provision is unacceptable and causing harm every day. Women, girls and pregnant people in need of this time sensitive and vital health-care are suffering - left without the local support our new pro-choice law promised three years ago.
People are still being forced to travel and make distressing journeys to access abortion. In 2020/21, 161 women and girls had to board a plane to England for abortion care. These journeys should long be a thing of the past.
Without commissioning and the necessary funding and resourcing, health trusts will struggle to meet the needs of people seeking abortions. Abortion provision will remain in a fragile state with access inconsistent across the various health trust areas.
At a time when we are seeing deeply concerning rollbacks on reproductive rights in other countries like the US, we cannot forget that people in the UK are being denied their rights too.
The UK government must set up abortion services in Northern Ireland and show that choice is respected and protected, not only in law but in practice.
People in need of abortion simply cannot afford to keep waiting. No more feet dragging, no more failure. This healthcare must be made immediately available to all who need it.
Grainne Teggart, Deputy Programme Director Northern Ireland, AIUK
Olivia Colman, , Amnesty International UK Ambassador
Bronagh Waugh, Actor
Deborah Frances-White, , Amnesty International UK Ambassador
Juliet Stevenson, Amnesty International UK Ambassador
Kaiser Chiefs, Amnesty International UK Ambassadors
Vick Hope, Amnesty International UK Ambassador
Dr Edward Morris, President, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’
Karen Murray, Director, Northern Ireland Royal College of Midwives
Rita Devlin, Director Northern Ireland, Royal College of Nursing
Clare Murphy, Chief Executive, BPAS
Dr Jonathan Lord, Medical Director, MSI Reproductive Choices UK
Aaron Flaherty, Chief Executive, NUPAS
Dr Eveane Cubitt, Northern Ireland Chair, Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health
Dr Ralph Roberts, Chair, Northern Ireland Abortion and Contraception Taskforce
Dr Laura McLaughlin, Doctors for Choice NI
Ruairi Rowan, Director of Advocacy and Policy, Informing Choices NI
Bethany Moore, Alliance for Choice Derry
Emma Campbell and Naomi O’Connor, Co-Chairs, Alliance for Choice
Learn more about our campaign here
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