Northern Ireland: Amnesty response to court of appeal ruling on abortion

Responding to the Court of Appeal’s decision to rule against a legal challenge to the UK Health Secretary's policy of not allowing abortions on the NHS for women who travel to England and Wales from Northern Ireland, Amnesty International Campaign Manager Grainne Teggart said:

“The ruling today and the policy of the UK Health Secretary only adds to the barriers women in Northern Ireland face when trying to access abortion services. Up to 2000 women per year leave Northern Ireland to access abortion services because of our highly restrictive laws and because no pathway into the NHS exists as the Department of Health is yet to publish termination of pregnancy guidance.

“Northern Ireland’s highly restrictive abortion laws are in significant breach of the UK’s international human rights obligations and force women pregnant as a result of rape and incest and whose pregnancies have been given a fatal foetal diagnosis to continue with those pregnancies or pay privately for service provision to which they should be entitled.”

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