Clare Bailey MLA

Clare Bailey welcomes cross-party Westminster drive to legislate for equal access to abortion


Green Party MLA Clare Bailey has welcomed a letter sent by a cross party group of 135 MPs and peers to Amber Rudd urging her to legislate for equal access to abortion for women in Northern Ireland.


Marking International Women’s Day, the group has urged the Minister for Women and Equalities to use the forthcoming Domestic Violence Bill which is intending to ratify the Istanbul Convention (The Council of Europe Convention on Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence) to provide for women in Northern Ireland to have equal access to abortion services to other UK citizens.


Green Party MLA Clare Bailey said: “The recent and utterly scathing report by the UN’s Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) found the UK government responsible for grave violations of rights by compelling women to carry pregnancies to full term in cases of severe foetal impairment and sexual crimes, subjecting them to severe physical and mental anguish.


“It was hugely insulting that the UK government’s response to that report was so dismissive, contending that it does not accept that women from Northern Ireland have been subject to grave and systematic violations of their human rights.


“I am deeply reassured that these 135 MPs and peers from across the party lines, however, are taking these despicable human rights breaches seriously and are refusing to permit the UK government to wash its hands of the abuse of the rights of thousands of UK citizens.


“In 2016/17, 724 women from Northern Ireland were forced to travel to access reproductive healthcare in England & Wales. Meanwhile, 1,438 women in Northern Ireland purchased abortion pills on-line from one provider in 2015.


“These women desperately need the support and care of medical practitioners at home, yet they are being forced to travel and left to fend for themselves.


“I welcome the intervention of these MPs and peers who recognise that the UK government has turned its back on its own citizens for far too long and are working to rectify the human rights abuses that are going on in this country. Human rights are not a devolved issue.”




Linda Stewart

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