Wendy Savage welcomes the Commons vote to extend abortion legislation, while Declan O’Neill sounds a note of caution regarding devolution in relation to that vote and another on equal marriage in Northern Ireland
As a signatory to the UN body Cedaw (the committee on the elimination of discrimination against women) it is shocking that in its latest report in 2018 it notes that in its almost 20 years it has made 13 recommendations about the abortion situation in Northern Ireland, all of which have been ignored. This year the UN committee against torture recommended that “the State party ensure that all women and girls in the State party, including in Northern Ireland, have effective access to the means of terminating a pregnancy when not doing so is likely to result in severe pain and suffering, such as when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, when the life or health of the pregnant person is at risk and in cases of fatal fetal impairment”.
The UK can hardly criticise other countries for ignoring UN recommendations if it behaves in this way. We therefore welcome the vote to extend abortion legislation to Northern Ireland as a first step to decriminalisation of this medical matter (Rights to same-sex marriage and abortion for whole of UK, 10 July).
Wendy Savage and Jayne Kavanagh
Co-chairs of Doctors for Choice (UK)
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