Northern Irish Women Can Now Get Free Abortions

Image credit: ‘Not Yours’ by Heather Freeman

And we are HERE for it.

In a move the British Pregnancy Advisory Service called a “landmark moment,” women from Northern Ireland will now be able to have a free NHS abortion in England.

The surprising decision was made today ahead of a scheduled vote on the issue, when Conservative ministers were willing to shift [and] make a big concession to avoid a potential rebellion amongst some Tory MPs – BBC reported.

Northern Ireland’s archaic laws on abortion have always been highly regulated, with the act classed as illegal even in sensitive and complex cases of incest and rape. Until this moment, women in Northern Ireland who aren’t ready or willing to have a child have been forced to fork out up to £2000 for abortions in private clinics in England. Many women have been unable to afford such a high premium for something the rest of the world classes as a human right, and have consequently been forced towards dangerous and unregulated methods of abortion as a last resort.

The move was made possible by Labour MP Stella Creasy, who managed to garner support from more than 50 MPs across the nation in a call for Northern Irish women to become eligible to receive free abortions in England. This call was then selected as one of three amendments to be included in the Queen’s Speech debate, but Justine Greening, Conservative minister for women and equalities, made the concession early today to save a potential rebellion amongst her party’s MPs.

The move means that Northern Irish women will finally qualify for free abortions through the NHS in England, although legislation at home is still unchanged – leaving those who can’t afford the cost of travel in the same position as always.

The intervention comes as a big ‘fuck you’ to the recent news that Conservatives have made a deal with the famously anti-abortion DUP, and we hope the change makes its way over to our sisters in Northern Ireland soon.


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