Northern Ireland

Vote on 'abortions only via NHS' law bid faces delay

pregnancy test
Image caption The vote on the abortion amendment may be delayed

A vote on a new law that would prevent private clinics from performing abortions in Northern Ireland may be delayed.

The amendment to the criminal justice bill was to be debated at Stormont next Tuesday - but the justice minister has asked for a postponement.

David Ford wants a delay until 12 March over an unrelated matter.

This involves allowing courts to open on Sundays for the G8 in case of public order problems.

On Thursday, two MLAs - the DUP's Paul Givan and the SDLP's Alban Maginess - unveiled their plans to amend the bill on abortion.

They are asking MLAs to change the law so that abortions, when permitted under the law, could only be carried out by the NHS.

Sinn Fein opposes this change. Alliance MLA Anna Lo has told the BBC that a petition of concern is circulating at Stormont to block the proposed amendment.

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