Today saw two major decisions taken in relation to abortion services; a Court of Appeal reversal on a previous human rights ruling and a decisions by the Westminster parliament to support NHS funded abortion services for women from Northern Ireland
NHS funded abortion services “The decision in Westminster to fund NHS abortions for women from Northern Ireland, while welcome, is a Northern Ireland “solution” to a Northern Ireland problem”, the Workers Party has said.
“Women should be able to access free, legal and safe services in their own country.
Today’s announcement is progress but does not go far enough and still means that working class women need to be able to fund their travel and other related costs and do not have access to services at home.
Court of Appeal Decision Commenting on the this morning’s Court of Appeal’s decision to support the appeal against the ruling that abortion legislation was incompatible with the UK’s Human Rights Act obligations, the Party said,
“This is clearly hugely disappointing and a blow to women and their struggle for equality and reproductive rights”
“The decision that this is a matter for the Assembly and that “complex moral and religious questions” behind the issue should be determined by a legislature in a jurisdiction where it is clear that in the local legislature religious reaction trumps women’s rights and which at the time of writing cannot even agree to constitute itself, is a further cruel blow”.
“This is not a moral or religious question, it is a question of political equality and women’s rights”, the Party statement said
“While the Court has stated that the case the case should now go to the Supreme Court, the recent decision of the Supreme Court, by a majority, rejected an appeal by a mother and daughter in their legal battle for women from Northern Ireland to receive free abortions on the NHS in England, although two senior judges in that case, gave strong dissenting judgments and would have allowed the appeal in full”.
“As its stands the local legislative and judicial routes to full reproductive rights for women has been blocked, reinforcing the view that rights will ultimately only be won by struggle and agitation”.
“The figures show that more than 700 women and girls from Northern Ireland travelled to England and Wales to terminate their pregnancies in 2016”.
“This does not include those who travelled to Scotland or other European countries, or women who purchased abortion pills, because of their inability to travel”.