The Guardian today carries news of a cross-party campaign to bring abortion rights under the NHS for women in Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the UK. The amendment is coordinated by Stella Creasy Labour MP for Walthamstow, with the support of the Conservative MP Sir Peter Bottomley. It asks the government to consider legislating so women from Northern Ireland have NHS abortion provision when they travel to England to terminate a pregnancy.
The DUP, with whom Theresa May is seeking an agreement to support her minority Conservative government, have historically taken a hard line on abortion, and Northern Ireland has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe. No deal has yet been reached by the Conservatives with the DUP, but Stella Creasy said parties needed assurances not only that any pact with the DUP would not affect current equalities law, but that it would not tie the government’s hands when future legislation was needed.
“In this parliament it is not just a matter of whether hard-won progress on issues like inclusive sex and relationship education or access to services for same-sex couples will be under attack by this coalition, but also what issues don’t get addressed and are ignored. It is vital we do not let the fight for equality be sidelined, as it is clear without action Northern Irish women will pay the price for the government doing a deal to stay in power.”
In the general election earlier this month Stella Creasy was re-elected MP for Walthamstow with a majority of over 32,000 - an increase of more than 8,800 over her majority in the 2015 election.
Read the Guardian article in full here.