Secretary of State at National Abortion Institute “deeply disappointed” by court’s decision on lack of abortion services

Updated 5 hours ago

Northern Ireland Foreign Minister Brandon Lewis said he was “deeply disappointed” after a High Court judge ruled that he had failed in his duty to ensure that comprehensive abortion services were provided to women in the region promptly. ” Were.

In a statement on Twitter, Lewis said she believes women in Northern Ireland “should have the same reproductive rights as women in the rest of the UK”.

He also said that he is “deeply disappointed” that the Northern Ireland Executive and Health Department are “deliberately ignoring the welfare and rights of women and girls in Northern Ireland”.

Judge Colton delivered the ruling after the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission launched a judicial review against the Foreign Secretary, as well as Northern Ireland’s executive and Department of Health sector, for their inability to license and fund abortion services.

Complaints against Health Minister Robin Swann and the executive were dismissed.

But regarding Lewis, the judge said: “The Court declared that between April 2020 and March 2021, the Secretary of State breached its obligations under Section 9 of the Northern Ireland Executive Formation Act 2019 because it did not quickly verify was that the state provides women with access to high quality abortion and post-abortion services in all public facilities in Northern Ireland.

“The court refused to issue any order (warrant issued in the form of an order) against the Secretary of State.

In response, Lewis said that only the UK government had taken “concrete steps” to make abortion services available in Northern Ireland.

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“I introduced the regulation to create a legal framework for abortion services in Northern Ireland in March 2020. In March 2021, when no progress was made by the executive, I made further regulations with the power to guide ministers.

She also said that women in Northern Ireland “should have access to safe and local abortion services under their right to health care”.

“That’s why in July I asked Robin Swan, Northern Ireland’s Department of Health, and the Board of Health and Social Services to make abortion services mandatory and available here in March 2022,” he said.

“We will continue to make progress until this is achieved,” he said.

Abortion laws in Northern Ireland were liberalized in 2019 after Westminster passed legislation when the region’s power-sharing government fell.

Although individual health trusts provide services on an ad-hoc basis, the health ministry has not delegated these services to the central level.

The case of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission supported a woman affected by a lack of service assignment during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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After starting legal proceedings earlier this year, Lewis decided to end the impasse by formally ordering Stormont to resume services.

He used new powers to order ministers in Belfast to take action to expand abortion services across the region, with a deadline of the end of March 2022.

Judge Colton, who delivered his ruling in the Belfast High Court today, said: “Those who hold public office, including the judiciary, must abide by and enforce the law.

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“It should not be necessary for the Court to assign by judicial review certain circumstances in which officers are unwilling to perform their legal obligations because they do not agree with applicable law.”

Alison Kilpatrick, Senior Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, responded: “This is an important issue that the Commission has addressed to support the human rights of women and girls in Northern Ireland.

We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision and will now take time to consider the implications of the judgment.

“NI has an operational responsibility to protect the human rights of women and girls.

“We will continue to monitor progress in operating and funding the service in Northern Ireland.”

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About the Author: Forrest Morton

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