Abortion – Northern Ireland

We campaign for safe and accessible abortion care in 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. This was 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. The inquiry 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 outlined the rapid implementation of early medical abortion services in Northern Ireland.

Safe Access

We campaigned for the introduction of safe access zones to enable individuals accessing sexual and reproductive services free from intimidation and harassment.

The Abortion Services (Safe Access Zones) Act (Northern Ireland) 2023 was introduced by Clare Bailey. This provides for the creation of safe access zones of between 100m and 250m outside facilities providing abortion care, or information or counselling in relation to abortion.

This was the first piece of legislation of its kind in the UK and Ireland and eight safe access zones have now been established.

You can listen to Clare Bailey discuss this legislation in our Big Sexy Talk podcast.


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 has since reviewed the recommendations, charting the progress made. The most recent Review was published in April 2024 and can be downloaded here.

The Review outlines the significant progress made since the commissioning of abortion services in December 2022. However, significant gaps remain.

Northern Ireland continues to be the only part of the UK, despite the reduced costs its introduction would have on the health service, and the expansion of choice it would provide to service users. First trimester screening also remains unavailable, resulting in later diagnosis and an increase in later abortions, despite early abortion being safer for women.

Despite abortion provision undergoing significant expansion, services remain fragile. ICNI we continue to advocate for the provision of local services to meet the needs of all citizens.

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