NORTHERN IRELAND: PRESS RELEASE – Women’s health doctors support NHS abortion services in Northern Ireland, new survey shows

An ongoing survey being conducted by Ulster University, NorthernIreland, and University College London (UCL) has found that a significantmajority of National Health Service obstetricians and gynaecologists inNorthern Ireland have indicated their support for delivering abortion services.

The survey provides valuable insight on thenew abortion care services, which will soon be required following the UKParliament’s decision last year to decriminalise abortion in Northern Ireland. Before then the UKParliament and the Northern Ireland Office, need to implement legal andregulatory frameworks, which will stipulate time limits for abortions and howthe new abortion services will be provided.

Launched in October 2019, the “Survey of obstetricsand gynaecology staff in Northern Ireland on forthcoming abortion law reform”has been completed by 113 NHS obstetricians and gynaecologists in NorthernIreland to date. Preliminary analysis indicates broad support for the provisionof abortion care services. Data to date show that:

  • 67% are in favour of decriminalisation, on theunderstanding that the abortion time limit would be 24 weeks,
  • 77% are willing to actively participate inproviding medical abortion pills,
  • 62% are willing to actively participate in providingsurgical abortion,
  • 88% welcome training on the new regulations onabortion,
  • 82% said training on counselling a woman requestingan abortion was welcome,
  • 69% would welcome training on the differentabortion methods, and
  • 86% understood that conscientious objection wouldonly relate only to active participation in an abortion procedure, and that otherstaff would be obliged to participate in the care of these patients aroundthese procedures.

SOURCE: University College London Press Release, 5March 2020 ; PHOTO:CHINNAPONG