Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis: Abortion is proper healthcare and I have a moral duty to expand access

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said he has a “moral duty” to extend access to abortion in Northern Ireland “within weeks”.

By Adam Kula
Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 11:53 pm
Brandon Lewis
Brandon Lewis

He lamented the ongoing lack of co-ordination about how and by whom terminations are provided, dubbing them “proper healthcare”.

Abortion laws in the region were liberalised in 2019 following laws passed by Westminster, at a time when the powersharing government at Stormont had collapsed.

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But while abortions are provided via health trusts, there is no overall co-ordination or plan because the Department of Health (under UUP man Robin Swann) has yet to create a centralised blueprint for how they are provided nationwide.

Mr Swann said he is seeking legal advice.

Mr Lewis told the PA news agency: “I’ve said all along this should be done by the devolved administration, but if it’s clear that the devolved administration won’t do it, I have a moral duty to act because I do think women should have access to proper healthcare the same as they do in the rest of the UK, but I also have a legal duty on me from the 2019 act that Parliament passed...

“I have to say I have been disappointed and surprised at just how reluctant the system in Northern Ireland has been and the Department of Health have been. “The Department of Health is there to support health and yet it has been reluctant to do that in this area, which I do think is disappointing.”