Abortion in Northern Ireland

Thank you for contacting me about the issue of abortion in Northern Ireland.

There have been a number of cases recently that have highlighted how the abortion law in Northern Ireland is different to the rest of the UK.

At present women from Northern Ireland coming to England for an abortion are asked for a payment, when other women from the UK don't have to pay. The Government is proposing that this will no longer happen, and will be launching a consultation shortly. None of this changes the fundamental position that abortion in Northern Ireland itself is a devolved issue. It is therefore up to the people of Northern Ireland and their elected representatives in Stormont to address the need for change.

I understand, however, that in the particular case that you mention, a judge in Belfast has granted permission for a judicial review to be heard over the prosecution of the mother, as he believed that the case raised issues of considerable public importance and public debate. This will now be held in the autumn.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.