Belfast Telegraph

Abortions to be made available in Wales for Northern Irish women, first minister says

By Michael Sheils McNamee

The NHS in Wales is set to make abortions available to women from Northern Ireland, the country's first minister has said.

This comes after a decision in Westminster last week by the Conservative government to make free NHS terminations available to Northern Irish women in England.

Speaking in the Welsh Assembly earlier today, the country's First Minister Carwyn Jones was responding to a query from the leader of Plaid Cymru Leanne Wood about whether the Welsh Government would be taking similar measures.

Mr Jones, who is also the leader of the Welsh Labour Party, said: "The answer to the question is 'yes'. That's what we want to do. We're looking at the detail of how that can be done, but we want to make sure that the same service is on offer in Wales as it is in England and Scotland.

"There are issues such as, for example, travel costs, and issues such as how you provide ongoing care for a procedure, rather than people just going home."

He added: "What we're looking to do is to make sure that Wales, England and Scotland offer the same service."

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has previously stated her intention to make NHS terminations available to Northern Irish women in Scotland.

Currently women from Northern Ireland travelling to other parts of the UK to receive an abortion are required to pay costs of around £900.

Abortions are only available in Northern Ireland under very limited circumstances, which include a woman's life being endangered, or if a woman’s physical or mental health is considered at risk.

The decision to make free NHS terminations available in England was made last week as part of the programme for government laid out in the Queen's speech.

This came after an amendment was introduced by Labour's Stella Creasy.

It is understood that the Conservatives government made a dramatic switch in policy to avoid the going to a vote - which they may potentially have lost if rebel MPs had backed the amendment.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph