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Saturday 18 August 2018

Abortions will 'not stop at the border' - Simon Harris makes assurances to women in Northern Ireland

Campaign group Solidarity with Repeal holding a rally calling for abortion rights outside Belfast City Hall. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
Campaign group Solidarity with Repeal holding a rally calling for abortion rights outside Belfast City Hall. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Northern Ireland women will be able to access abortion services in Ireland once new laws are introduced, Minister for Health Simon Harris has said.

Mr Harris said access to health services for women in crisis pregnancy situations will “not stop at the border” after Ireland introduces unrestricted abortion up to 12 weeks.

Northern Ireland is the only country within UK which continues to ban abortion in almost all scenarios.

Speaking in Belfast at Feile an Phobail today, Minister Harris said, “Last year at least 919 women from Northern Ireland travelled to England and Wales to access abortion services. This is a reality for women in Northern Ireland and one that I really hope their politicians address.

“In recent months the Irish people have addressed this issue through our referendum to repeal the 8th amendment. I now intend to bring in legislation to give effect to this decision in the autumn.

“Whilst I respect the issue of abortion laws in Northern Ireland is a matter for public representatives in Northern Ireland, I really hope this is addressed in the near future.

“In the meantime, I intend to ensure women from Northern Ireland can access such services in the Republic, just like they can access other health services here.”

Mr Harris also met with members of the Orange Order during his visit to Northern Ireland

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