An FOI request has revealed that the cross community veto was used on three separate occasions by the DUP to block a legal requirement allowing women to access abortion services in Northern Ireland.

Gemma Weir, Workers’ Party North Belfast said:
“It is disgraceful, but unsurprising, that the DUP have used this veto on three occasions in one year to block women’s reproductive rights in the north. This veto is used by Parties like the DUP to forward their own bigoted agenda and it is once again proof that the NI Exec is not fit for purpose”.

She continued:
“The cross-community vetoes were put in place to safeguard compliance with human rights and equality standards. However, because this was not implemented properly parties like the DUP have been able to use the veto to their own ends, blocking measures that advance and protect rights. The DUP have effectively been allowed to block what is a legal requirement to provide abortion services to women in the north without any challenge”.

She concluded:
“Sinn Féin should not be let off the hook either and should be reminded at every opportunity how they have failed women in the north by their abstention on this vote. The excuse used by Mary-Lou McDonald that they abstained because this was a DUP stunt just doesn’t cut it and it is insulting to expect people to believe this. The fact is they abstained because they were afraid to take a serious stand in support of women’s reproductive rights. They can no longer continue to pretend to be all things to all people. Everyone should remember that Sinn Féin are not an opposition party in the north, they are a government party and have consistently failed workers, women and families.

“The Workers’ Party demand that abortion services are made accessible to women in the north immediately.”