Secretary of State for Northern Ireland instructs the Department of Health to commission abortion services

We’d like to set additional cookies to understand how you use GOV.UK, remember your settings and improve government services.

We also use cookies set by other sites to help us deliver content from their services.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland instructs the Department of Health to commission abortion services

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has written to the Department of Health to commission abortion services.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris MP, has written to the Department of Health, to formally commission abortion services in Northern Ireland.

This instruction follows the UK Government’s announcement on 24 October that it would be commissioning abortion services in Northern Ireland, where the Secretary of State is under a statutory obligation to ensure that access to safe high-quality abortion and post-abortion care are available.

Currently, early medical abortion services (EMA), and cases where there is an immediate necessity to save the woman’s life or to prevent grave permanent injury, are available in all five Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland.

The formal commissioning and availability of funding will enable Health and Social Care Trusts to recruit and train staff in the coming months to support the development of sustainable services in Northern Ireland so that a full range of high quality services are available.

While women can access early medical abortions up to nine weeks and six days gestation across all Health and Social Care Trusts and up to 11 weeks and six days gestation at the Northern Trust, those who need advice or access to these services in Northern Ireland should contact the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, BPAS, by visiting their or calling 0333 234 2184 for further support.

Where a woman needs abortion care that is not currently available in Northern Ireland, she will continue to be able to access UK Government funded NHS services in Great Britain. Bookings can be accessed by visiting the MSI Reproductive Choices . Women must be resident in Northern Ireland and also registered with a GP.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris MP, said:

“The UK Government is steadfast in its commitment to ensuring women of Northern Ireland have access to safe, high-quality and local abortion services.

“As Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, my officials at the Northern Ireland Office and I will continue to work with the Department of Health and healthcare professionals to ensure a range of abortion services become readily available across all Health and Social Care Trusts in the coming months.”