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NI women will be able to seek NHS abortions in Wales

Wales will provide termination of pregnancy services on the NHS to women from Northern Ireland

Ingrid Torjesen

Monday, 12 November 2018

Women from Northern Ireland can now access free abortions through the NHS in Wales, the Welsh Government has announced.

Abortions are illegal in Northern Ireland except for cases where the woman's health is at risk. Rape, familial sexual abuse (incest) and foetal abnormality are not circumstances in which termination can be performed legally in Northern Ireland. This has led to women travelling to Great Britain to seek terminations, where until recently they had to pay for them privately.

Wales is the last country in Great Britain to offer free abortions to women from Northern Ireland, as last year both England and Scotland made terminations for them free.

Welsh Health Secretary Vaughan Gething said: "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.

"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."

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething has announced Wales’ health boards will be able to provide termination of pregnancy services to women from Northern Ireland from today. The decision follows consultation with key stakeholders at the start of 2018.

To ensure the efficient delivery of this provision to Northern Ireland women and to ensure equitable service is provided to women in Wales, guidance on accessing termination of pregnancy provision in Wales will be published on the NHS Direct website.

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