The intervention by the Secretary of State to ensure abortion provision is available across all health trusts in Northern Ireland should come as no surprise.
The UK Government warned numerous times, that if there was no movement on the issue that they would be forced to intervene over the heads of devolved ministers.
Abortion laws were liberalised in 2019, following laws passed by Westminster at a time when power sharing at Stormont had collapsed.
Robin Swann had previously claimed that the official provision of services required Executive approval as it was a controversial and cross-cutting issue.
Those who campaigned for changes to the law refuted this and accused the Department of using stalling tactics.
It mattered not as the DUP refused to even allow the issue on the agenda for debate by ministers.
The Ulster Unionist Party have a conscience clause when it comes to abortion provision, Mr Swann makes no secret of the fact that he is against changes to the law.
The anti-abortion campaign group Precious Life names Mr Swann as a pro-life candidate on their website.
The Department of Heath have been warned that they have just weeks to finalise arrangements.
Minister Swann responded by saying he will be taking further legal advice, but the ball is very much now in his court as to how his department proceeds in the coming days and weeks.
Brandon Lewis previously gave the Executive until March 31 to provide services, that time is long since passed.
Mr Lewis said it was “a balance for us as this is a devolved area but we will strain every sinew to work with the Department of Health to get this done”.
Making decisions in the absence of Executive agreement is nothing new in local politics.
Westminster legislated for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland and will legislate for the Irish, Ulster Scots and culture acts that have been stuck in deadlock for years.
More controversially, earlier this week they introduced the Legacy Bill that will map out a way to deal with Northern Ireland’s past without any agreement locally on how to proceed.
If Mr Swann does not act on abortion, and early indications are that he is reluctant to do so, the new regulations will also empower the Secretary of State to intervene in the department and commission the services himself.
Early medical abortions up to 10 weeks are now available to all women in Northern Ireland, but not every trust offers the service. Women with more complicated medial needs or who require later abortions are still being forced in many cases to travel to England for treatment.
The criticisms of the government is that intervention on abortion and other devolved issues amounts to backdoor direct rule.
The Conservative MP responded to this saying, “It is morally wrong and it is abhorrent that women and girls in Northern Ireland cannot access healthcare they can in the rest of the UK.”
All eyes will be on Minister Swann, currently acting in a shadow capacity in the absence of an Executive.
Will he — however reluctantly — implement services or will there be more delay on this issue?
What does seem clear is that patience is running out at Westminster with Stormont and the constant needs to be dragged along for any and all social changes.
A backlash can also be expected from those on both the socially conservative Catholic and Unionist sections of society who are united against any change.
With Clare Bailey’s Safe Access Zones Bill — that would have prevented protesters gathering outside clinics — currently delayed, religious gatherings can be expected.
The Green Party leader who lost her seat to the Alliance Party passed the Bill before the Assembly dissolved, but the Attorney General has referred the legislation to the Supreme Court.
Dame Brenda King has asked the court to determine whether part of the bill is within the “legislative competence” of the Stormont Assembly given the omission of what is known as the "reasonable excuse" defence from the legislation.
Only if the Supreme Court determines the part of the bill in question to be within the assembly's legislative competence, will it proceed to become law.
While reform has come a long way there is still a few more hurdles to overcome before women and girls in Northern Ireland are entitled to the safe abortion rights as their neighbours both in the rest of the UK and in southern Ireland.
Don’t expect change to happen overnight.