Northern Ireland: option to take both abortion pills at home urgently needed during Covid-19 crisis

Responding to new abortion regulations that have come into force in Northern Ireland today, Grainne Teggart, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Campaign Manager, said:

“Finally women in Northern Ireland will have their choice and rights protected. For more than a century we’ve had a near-total ban on abortion, but now all those facing crisis pregnancy will have the option of this free, safe and legal healthcare.

“However, during the Covid-19 pandemic we urgently need to see provision made to allow women to take both abortion pills at home. Travelling is not a safe or viable option, and as services are yet to be commissioned in Northern Ireland women here are left without access to the healthcare.

“Some women have never had the option to travel - those who experience domestic abuse and those with an insecure immigration status are often blocked from accessing abortion services. Allowing women to self-manage at home is a crucial way of ensuring that all have access to this vital healthcare.

“England has now introduced measures to allow women to take both abortion pills at home. It makes no sense that women in Northern Ireland are being denied this option – it’s unfair, dangerous and is putting them at risk.

“We urge the Department of Health in Northern Ireland to enable women to safely manage abortions at home. We will be working around the clock until these provisions are secured.”

For more information on the new regulations, see here: https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/northern-ireland-abortion-regulations-fail-protect-women-during-covid-19-crisis

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