FSRH statement: decriminalisation of abortion care in Northern Ireland

Posted 4 June 2018

Date: 04 Jun 2018

Type: FSRH Press Releases and Statements

Following the outcome of the referendum in the Republic of Ireland showing the Irish people’s overwhelming support for the repeal of the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment, attention has now turned to Northern Ireland where one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world is in place. FSRH takes the opportunity to reaffirm its position on decriminalisation of abortion care across the UK.

FSRH believes women should be able to access safe and legal abortion care wherever they live and, therefore, supports the removal of criminal sanctions associated with abortion anywhere in the UK, including Northern Ireland. FSRH believes that women should have the right to high-quality abortion care that is subject to appropriate professional standards and regulatory frameworks.

FSRH’s position on decriminalisation of abortion was reached following in depth discussions and a vote at FSRH Council in November 2017, which had been informed by the results of a consultation with our 15,000-strong UK membership inclusive of members in Northern Ireland.

FSRH has also written to the Prime Minister and MPs to voice support for abortion law reform, including on the occasion of the Conservative Party’s alliance with the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), and welcomed the Government’s decision to fund abortion care in England for women resident in Northern Ireland last summer.

Dr Asha Kasliwal, FSRH President, said:

“Because of an outdated legislative framework, hundreds of women resident in Northern Ireland have to endure long journeys, sometimes in pain, to access an integral part of sexual and reproductive healthcare: abortion care. In such circumstances, some resort to illegal online purchase of abortion medication.

FSRH’s vision is a UK where all women are able to receive prompt access to abortion services, which should include good pregnancy decision-making support and access to post-abortion counselling if needed.

FSRH’s vision is a UK in which there is no fear of harassment or stigma for women who consult healthcare professionals for abortion. This must also be true for healthcare professionals who provide care”.

Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, 27 Sussex Place, London NW1 4RG. Charity No. 1019969.

Notes to editors:

  • The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) is the largest UK professional membership organisation working at the heart of sexual and reproductive health (SRH), supporting healthcare professionals to deliver high quality care. It works with its 15,000 members, to shape sexual reproductive health for all. It produces evidence-based clinical guidance, standards, training, qualifications and research into SRH. It also delivers conferences and publishes the journal BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health in partnership with the BMJ. For more information please visit: www.fsrh.org

For further information please contact:
Camila Azevedo
FSRH External Affairs & Standards Officer
Email: externalaffairsofficer@fsrh.org
Telephone: 02037945309