The British government has used new powers to run Stormont Executive to order abortion services in Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis confirmed the widely awaited move in a written ministerial statement to Parliament.
Abortion laws in Northern Ireland were liberalized in 2019 following legislation passed by Westminster at a time when the power-sharing executive had collapsed.
However, while individual health trusts currently provide services on an ad hoc basis, the Department of Health has not yet commissioned services due to an ongoing stalemate within the Executive.
In March, the government intervened to hand over to Mr Lewis new powers to run the North Department of Health to order services.
He officially took that step today.
“This constant stalemate leaves me with no choice but to leave one direction,” he said. Lewis.
“I have a legal and moral obligation to ensure that women and girls in Northern Ireland are given their rights and can have access to health care as set out in the 2020 regulations.”
Mr. Lewis instructed the Department of Health, Minister of Health Robin Swann, the Board of Health and Social Welfare, First Minister Paul Givan and First Deputy Minister Michelle O’Neill.
Mr Lewis noted that abortion was a sensitive issue.
“I accept and respect the deeply held views that individuals hold on this issue,” he said.
“However, it is the clear will of Parliament that the rights of women and girls in Northern Ireland be properly respected.”
Mr Lewis explained why the government had created new powers in relation to running the utility commission.
He said: “We took this important step because a year after the 2020 Regulations were made, women and girls in Northern Ireland are still not able to access high quality abortion and post-abortion care in Ireland. “North in all circumstances allowed by regulations. We did on March 31, 2020. That remains today.”
Mr Lewis also directed for immediate support to be provided to support the temporary services currently provided by health faiths in Northern Ireland. He warned that those services were “in danger of collapsing”.
“Although I recognize the great effort that Covid-19 has put into healthcare in Northern Ireland, I remain extremely disappointed that the full committee proposals have not yet been submitted by the Department of Health and that the Executive does not have an opportunity to address them. discuss them, “he said.
Mr Lewis said it was up to the Executive to find the funds needed for the services from within the Treasury block’s annual grant or coffers.
“At the heart of this issue are the women and girls in Northern Ireland who have been denied and continue to have the same reproductive rights as women in the rest of the UK,” he said.
“Parliament determined that this needs to be rectified and by exercising the power to lead, we will ensure that it is.”
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