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Women from Northern Ireland to get access to free abortions in Wales

July 04, 2017 at 4:44 PM

Julie Morgan, the Assembly Member for Cardiff North, has today [July 4] welcomed the First Minister’s commitment to offer access to free abortions in Wales for women from Northern Ireland in line with England.

Julie Morgan raised the issue in the Senedd today and called for women from Northern Ireland to have equal access to free abortions in Wales, following plans announced for the NHS in England last week.

She said: “As a result of MP Stella Creasy’s campaign the UK Government last week decided to fund free abortions in England which I welcome but they must have access to them in Wales too.

“I understand the money in England to pay for abortions for Northern Ireland women will be taken from the Equalities Office. This means there will not be a Barnett Consequential so it’s important to determine where the money will come from in Wales, although the numbers may be small.

“In 2016, 724 women from Northern Ireland travelled to England and Wales to have paid-for legal abortions. I believe women in Northern Ireland should be treated equally and have access to free treatment here in Wales – of course I also believe they should have access to this at home but this is not currently the case.

“I think the current situation is very unfair. In 2012 a 15-year-old girl travelled with her mother from Northern Ireland to have an abortion in Manchester at a cost of £900. Travel costs and accommodation add to the stress of what will undoubtedly be a difficult time.

“We do not want to see a situation where women are having illegal abortions or taking abortion pills and risking their health because of the cost. We must make sure these women’s right to choose will apply in Wales and to help them avoid the stress and stigma of the current situation.”