Belfast Telegraph

Marie Stopes UK waives fees for Northern Ireland women accessing abortions in England

By Claire Williamson

Marie Stopes UK has announced it will no longer charge fees for Northern Irish women accessing abortions in England - following a "government commitment" to fund their treatment through the Equalities Office.

Following discussions with the Government, Marie Stopes UK has decided to waive fees for any Northern Irish woman accessing its abortion services after Friday June 30.

It comes as the UK Government backed funding for women from Northern Ireland to access free abortions in England.

Abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland without exceptional circumstances, with hundreds of women thought to be charged by the NHS each year to travel elsewhere in the UK for surgery.

Women from Northern Ireland who have been treated by Marie Stopes UK since that date will be contacted to have their consultation and treatment costs refunded.

Sally Bassett, acting Managing Director at Marie Stopes UK, said: “The Government has advised us that its decision to fund Northern Irish women was with immediate effect.

"We are working closely with government partners to establish how this will work in practice, but we believe it is right to remove fees for Northern Irish women while this conversation is ongoing, and to refund women who have received treatment since the announcement.

“We are delighted to be working with government to implement this change, which will substantially reduce the cost of abortion for Northern Irish women. Ideally these services would be provided in Northern Ireland itself, but until that happens, this is an important step forward.”

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