Abortion – Northern Ireland

On 22 October 2019 abortion was decriminalised in Northern Ireland.

We recorded videos reflecting on what decriminalisation means to us, our clients and wider society.

A blog post on the decriminalisation of abortion can also be found here.

Following the decriminalisation of abortion, a new framework was introduced in March 2020. The framework is based on the recommendations made by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

CEDAW undertook an inquiry into access to abortion in Northern Ireland which was published in 2018. This was requested by FPA NI, Alliance for Choice and the Northern Ireland Women’s European Platform. It found that the previous law constituted a ‘grave’ and ‘systematic’ violation of women’s rights.

The full report can and its recommendations can be found here.

In June 2021 ICNI published a report called Beyond Decriminalisation which outlines the rapid implementation of early medical abortion services in Northern Ireland.

We are also members of the Northern Ireland Abortion and Contraception Taskgroup (NIACT). In March 2021 NIACT released a report on Sexual and Reproductive Health in Northern Ireland. The report made a series of recommendations and can be downloaded here.

NIACT released an Annual Review in June 2022 which provided an update on the recommendations made in their previous report. The Annual Review can be downloaded here.

While progress has been made in Northern Ireland regarding access to abortion, barriers remain. Services need to be urgently commissioned to ensure that the legislation is enacted and the rights of women and pregnant people are realised.

ICNI we continue to advocate for the provision of local abortion care to meet the needs of all who may need to access this vital healthcare.

For more information regarding the current provision of abortion services, please click here.