Monday 7 November 2011

Myth-Busting Monday - 'Abortion is legal in all parts of the UK'

Every Monday EFC busts myths and take names, cutting through the misinformation, disinformation, and straight up nonsense to bring you the facts. Today’s myth-bust relates to the fpa’s current abortion campaign Time For Change.

Although abortion is legal and accessible (though not available ‘on demand’) in England, Scotland and Wales, it is allowed in Northern Ireland only under exceptional circumstances. The 1967 Abortion Act, which governs abortion provision in Britain, only applies in England, Scotland and Wales. When the Act was debated and passed by Parliament in 1967 it was not extended to Northern Ireland.

Last year, over a thousand women from Northern Ireland travelled to England and Wales to obtain a legal abortion. Although women in Northern Ireland pay UK taxes they are not entitled to an abortion free on the NHS so would need to raise funds for the procedure itself (as well as travel and possibly accommodation). Abortion is also restricted in the Republic of Ireland and the Channel Islands so a number of women from these places travel to England and Wales to have abortions (see the 2010 abortion statistics for exact numbers).

There are no recorded statistics on the amount of illegal abortions taking place in Northern Ireland, but there have been reports of women ordering abortion medication online via services like Women on Web. The Abortion Support Network has been set up to provide financial assistance to those women travelling from Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. 

For more information on abortion in Northern Ireland check out the fpa’s Time For Change campaign.

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