Westminster directive to Stormont’s Department of Health to set up full and accessible abortion services by no later than March 2022 is welcome according to Gemma Weir, Workers’ Party Castle DEA.

“Changes to abortion law took effect in 2020 in the absence of devolution. But the commissioning of services has continued to face obstacle after obstacle due to disagreements between the five party executive.”

“Women and girls in the north of Ireland must have the same rights and access to healthcare. It is not the prerogative of any of the five parties to deny women these rights because of certain individuals personal beliefs and it is frankly ridiculous that ministers in Stormont have to be directed to do this.”

“No doubt this directive will be met with cries that health, including abortion, is a devolved matter. However if the executive parties are unwilling to put the needs and rights of women and girls in the north of Ireland first then they will remain deadlocked and women, particularly working class women who cannot afford to travel, will continue to suffer as a result.”