Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2021 — 27 Apr 2021 at 17:53
The majority of MPs voted in favour of empowering a UK minister to act to ensure legal high-quality abortion and post-abortion care in Northern Ireland and to protect women from harassment by anti-abortion protesters.
The motion supported by a majority of MPs in this vote was:
- That the Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2021 (S.I., 2021, No. 365), dated 22 March 2021, a copy of which was laid before this House on 23 March, be approved.
The key operative provision of the regulations stated:
- If the Secretary of State considers that any action capable of being taken by a relevant person is required for the purpose of implementing the recommendations in paragraphs 85 and 86 of the CEDAW report, the Secretary of State may direct that the action must be taken.
The explanatory notes state:
- "the recommendations in paragraphs 85 and 86 of the CEDAW Report have not been fully implemented. In particular, the recommendations includes the recommendation that the state “Provide women with access to high-quality abortion and post-abortion care in all public health facilities...”."
Paragraph 85 of the CEDAW report stated:
- The Committee recommends that the State party urgently:
- (a) Repeal sections 58 and 59 of the Offences against the Person Act, 1861, so that no criminal charges can be brought against women and girls who undergo abortion or against qualified health-care professionals and all others who provide and assist in the abortion;
- (b) Adopt legislation to provide for expanded grounds to legalize abortion at least in the following cases:
- (i) Threat to the pregnant woman’s physical or mental health, without conditionality of “long-term or permanent” effects;
- (ii) Rape and incest;
- (iii) Severe fetal impairment, including fatal fetal abnormality, without perpetuating stereotypes towards persons with disabilities and ensuring appropriate and ongoing support, social and financial, for women who decide to carry such pregnancies to term;
- (c) Introduce, as an interim measure, a moratorium on the application of criminal laws concerning abortion and cease all related arrests, investigations and criminal prosecutions, including of women seeking post-abortion care and health-care professionals;
- (d) Adopt evidence-based protocols for health-care professionals on providing legal abortions particularly on the grounds of physical and mental health and ensure continuous training on the protocols;
- (e) Establish a mechanism to advance women’s rights, including through monitoring authorities’ compliance with international standards concerning access to sexual and reproductive health, including access to safe abortions, and ensure enhanced coordination between the mechanism with the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission;
- (f) Strengthen existing data-collection systems and data sharing between the Department and the police to address the phenomenon of self-induced abortion.
Paragraph 86 stated:
- Sexual and reproductive health rights and services
- The Committee recommends that the State party:
- (a) Provide non-biased, scientifically sound and rights-based counselling and information on sexual and reproductive health services, including on all methods of contraception and access to abortion;
- (b) Ensure the accessibility and affordability of sexual and reproductive health services and products, including on safe and modern contraception, including oral, emergency, long-term and permanent forms of contraception, and adopt a protocol to facilitate access at pharmacies, clinics and hospitals;
- (c) Provide women with access to high-quality abortion and post-abortion care in all public health facilities and adopt guidance on doctor-patient confidentiality in that area;
- (d) Make age-appropriate, comprehensive and scientifically accurate education on sexual and reproductive health and rights a compulsory component of curriculum for adolescents, covering prevention of early pregnancy and access to abortion, and monitor its implementation;
- (e) Intensify awareness-raising campaigns on sexual and reproductive health rights and services, including on access to modern contraception;
- (f) Adopt a strategy to combat gender-based stereotypes regarding women’s primary role as mothers;
- (g) Protect women from harassment by anti-abortion protesters by investigating complaints and prosecuting and punishing perpetrators
-  Explanatory notes to the Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2021
-  Report of Inquiry concerning the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland under article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 6 March 2018
Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.
What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.
What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.
What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.
|Party||Majority (Aye)||Minority (No)||Both||Turnout|
|Con||221 (+2 tell)||78 (+1 tell)||0||83.0%|
|DUP||0||7 (+1 tell)||0||100.0%|