Northern Ireland

Number of NI women accessing abortion in Scotland fewer than 10

woman with doctor Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Abortions are illegal in Northern Ireland except for cases where the woman's health is at risk

Fewer than 10 women from Northern Ireland had abortions in Scotland since the region gave Northern Ireland women free access to termination services.

In 2017, the Scottish parliament amended legislation for access on Scottish NHS.

Abortions are illegal in Northern Ireland except for cases where the woman's health is at risk.

A new report provides the first full year of analysable data since the law came into effect.

It shows that in past 10 years, NHS Scotland dealt with nearly 20 terminations from Northern Ireland.

The report, which was published by the NHS Scotland Information Service Division, said that "the change in the provision of this service in the NHS in Scotland for Northern Irish women appears to have had very little impact".

It added that the division plans to monitor how many women from Northern Ireland utilise termination services in Scotland.

Different laws

Northern Ireland's abortion laws are different than in the rest of the UK.

The 1967 Abortion Act, which established legal abortion, has never applied in Northern Ireland.

In 1945, the Infant Life (Preservation) Act, which permits terminations to preserve the life of the mother, was extended to Northern Ireland.

Guidelines issued in March by the Northern Ireland Executive state that access to abortion is only permitted if a woman's life is at risk or there is a permanent or serious risk to her mental or physical health.

Fatal foetal abnormalities, rape and incest are not circumstances in which abortions can be performed legally.

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