Welsh government announces free abortions for women from Northern Ireland

The Welsh government has announced that it will offer free abortions to women from Northern Ireland through the NHS.

Following Friday’s announcement Wales has joined England and Scotland in offering the service.

Abortion is currently illegal in Northern Ireland in all but the most extreme cases and as a result on average 28 women a week travel to England for terminations.

Campaigns for abortion legislation to be introduced in Northern Ireland have ramped up in the wake of the successful Abortion Referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Last month an amendment to a bill by Secretary of State Karen Bradley by Labour MPs Stella Creasy and Conor McGinnn calling on Mrs Bradley to issue guidance on abortion law in Northern Ireland was passed in the House of Commons.

Welsh Health Secretary Vaughan Gething said he did not expect a large number of women to avail of the service.

“Our view has always been a woman from Northern Ireland, in Wales, should be able to access termination of pregnancy on the same basis as women in Wales,” he said.

“We anticipate the number of women from Northern Ireland accessing these services to be low and health boards have assured us they are able to absorb this provision within existing resources.

“I have asked my officials to conduct a review of the position after six months.”

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