Dear Secretary of State,
Women and girls in Northern Ireland are suffering due to the near total ban on abortion. They face up to life in prison under a Victorian era law that predates the lightbulb.
With no resolution to Northern Ireland’s political stalemate in sight it’s time for the UK Government to step in.
Whilst health and justice are devolved matters, ensuring that the human rights of all UK citizens are upheld is a Westminster responsibility. The UK Government has the ability and responsibility to change the situation for women in Northern Ireland and bring an end to this cruel betrayal of women. Whilst we welcome the commitment made by Justine Greening that women from Northern Ireland will be given free abortions in England and Wales, women and girls from Northern Ireland will still have to bear the emotional burden of having to travel for healthcare that should be available at home.
You must ensure that Northern Ireland’s abortion law is brought in line with international human rights standards, which must include the decriminalisation of abortion. Further, you must stop the criminalisation of women and girls who access abortion pills – an internationally recommended option for safely ending pregnancies in the first trimester.