Northern Ireland’s Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) has launched a legal action against the UK government for not having commissioned a regime of abortion-on-request more than a year after the procedure was made legal in the region.
Northern Ireland secretary, Brandon Lewis, is accused of unlawfully denying the rights of women, who experts warn are being forced to use “unregulated services” and to travel to high-risk areas during the pandemic, the Guardian reports. The NIHRC is also taking action against the Northern Ireland Executive and the region’s Department of Health.
Les Allamby, the head of the NIHRC, said the body was taking legal action after the secretary of state, the Northern Ireland Executive and the Department of Health had not taken responsibility for creating the regime.
In the absence of a Government run regime, the region’s five health trusts have established unfunded services led by a group of fewer than a dozen committed medics. Nonetheless, between April and the end of November 2020 they facilitated 719 terminations according to DoH figures.