Questioner: Huw Merriman (CON - Bexhill and Battle)
What recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the provision of abortion services in Northern Ireland.
Answered by Robin Walker
Abortion services are now a matter for the Department of Health in Northern Ireland.
I am pleased that some service provision has commenced through existing sexual and reproductive health services in the Belfast, Northern and Western Trust areas. Information on these services is available through the Informing Choices NI helpline and the Central Booking Service.
I hope that longer-term services can be commissioned as soon as possible in the current circumstances, consistent with the Regulations we made.
The Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2020 which were laid in March have now been replaced with the Abortion (Northern Ireland) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 , which were laid in the House today. These regulations come into effect on 14th May and revoke the earlier regulations. Their legal effect in supporting the provision of services remains consistent, with a small correction having been made to address the concerns of the JCSI, so services can continue on the same basis.