Sunday 17 December 2017

British Pregnancy Advisory Service to fund abortions for Northern Irish women

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Claire Fox

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) has announced that it will no longer charge women resident in Northern Ireland for abortion consultation and treatment services.

Last Thursday the British government announced that it would fund abortions under the NHS for women in Northern Ireland, yet it did not state when this decision would come into effect.

Director of External Affairs at BPOS, Claire Murphy stated that this "uncertainty" is the reason why the organisation decided to offer its services free to Northern Irish women.

"We are thrilled that the announcement took place, but our issue is that nothing has been put in place and that it occurred on the back of political issues," said Murphy.

According to BPOS, women from Northern Ireland present for abortions later, this is sometimes due to financial issues, Murphy said that by offering their services free to Northern Irish women it provides them with "reassurance".

"We don't want any women being put off accessing an abortion. The earlier an abortion takes place, the safer it is and that is why we are refunding women since Friday and offering free services which previously women in Northern Ireland would've been charged for, although at a discounted rate as we never turn away anyone based on their ability to pay," added Murphy.

BPOS provides abortion services to more than 70,000 women each year. 

Irish actor and Pro-Choice campaigner, Tara Flynn took to Twitter to express her delight at the announcement calling the move made by BPAS, "common sense", while abortion rights group London Irish Abortion Rights Campaign too welcomed the news on the social media site.

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