Paula Bradshaw MLA has signed a cross-party letter alongside elected representatives from across the UK and Ireland to support a campaign by Stella Creasy MP, which urges the British and Irish governments to use the forthcoming British Irish Inter-Governmental Conference to play a role in moving along the issue of abortion here in Northern Ireland.
Paula said, “I signed the letter because I felt the two main actions being requested are effectively calling the two governments to account on the issue of meeting commitments on human rights for women here. The first action is for the UK Prime Minister to set out an explicit legislative timetable for parliamentary scrutiny in Westminster of the Domestic Violence Bill, which includes the potential repeal of sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861. This would result in the decriminalisation of abortion across the UK.
“The second action calls for an urgent ‘pathway to adequately provide for human rights – including compliant healthcare access for women in Northern Ireland’. The British and Irish government are co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement, and as such, should be doing more to getting the institutions defined under it back up and running as soon as possible. I believe the letter is a clear reminder of their responsibilities under this.
“I want to see this ‘pathway’ defined and agreed at the Inter-Governmental Conference, so that we, locally-elected members of the legislative assembly, can get back to work and to put in place legislation that meets the healthcare needs of women here.”