• Northern Irish women gaining access to NHS-funded abortions in England

    14 July 2017

    Dear Constituent

    Thank you for contacting me about Northern Irish women gaining access to NHS-funded abortions in England.

    I recognise that this is a very delicate and sensitive issue. MPs are free to vote with their conscience on abortion matters, rather than in line with their parties, and I support this convention wholeheartedly. The Government wishes to see safe abortion services provided within the law to women who need them.

    The provision of abortions is a devolved issue and devolved NHS authorities are responsible for providing healthcare to those resident in their regions.

    However, following a recent Supreme Court judgement, which outlined the law surrounding the provision of abortions to Northern Irish women in England, the Government has announced that payment for abortions for Northern Irish women in the NHS will be met by the Government Equalities Office with additional funding.

    This development does not alter the fact that the provision of abortion in Northern Ireland is a devolved issue, and is the responsibility of politicians in Northern Ireland. The funding of NHS abortion services for Northern Irish women by the Government Equalities Office ensures these women safe access to legal abortions in England, without compromising the devolution of NHS services in the UK.

    Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

    Yours sincerely


    Mel Stride

    MP for Central Devon

    Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General