Northern Ireland: Government publishes abortion guidelines for healthcare professionals ahead of law change

Responding to new guidance for healthcare professionals, published by the UK’s Northern Ireland Office, about the forthcoming abortion law reform in Northern Ireland, Grainne Teggart, Amnesty UK’s Northern Ireland campaign manager, said:

“The new guidance for healthcare professionals about the forthcoming changes to abortion provision in Northern Ireland is welcome and paves the way for a smooth transition for free, safe and legal services here.

“The guidelines set out clearly that from October 21st, women can safely go to their doctors for medical assistance, including in cases where they’ve self-managed an abortion with pills, without fear of prosecution. From that date onwards, anyone given a serious or fatal diagnosis will be able to access the healthcare locally, whilst everyone else will have their travel expenses covered until full service provision is introduced next year.  

“We’re just two weeks away from seeing these much needed and anticipated reforms take effect – in a matter of days no one will be treated as a criminal for accessing or providing this healthcare service, and all current prosecutions will be dropped.

“We’re finally saying goodbye to a law that has caused a huge amount of suffering – the relief, for so many, is overwhelming.”

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