I live in Northern Ireland, and I am asking that you, as a government Minister, support amendment NC7 to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Bill TODAY, on Wednesday 24th October.The vote is expected this evening at around 6pm.
About Amendment NC7
This cross-party amendment does not seek to change the law in NI. It asks that, in the absence of NI Ministers, the Secretary of State issue guidance to enable civil servants to exercise their functions within the existing legal framework.
Currently, a lack of guidance has created uncertainty surrounding medical professionals' duties to report women who have procured or sought to procure their own miscarriage. As a result, vulnerable women may be too fearful to seek medical help when needed, and clinicians are forced to adopt a "don't ask, don't tell" approach when faced with a woman they suspect may have taken illegal abortion medication. This creates dangerous barriers between a woman and those caring for her.
A lack of guidance also has an impact on what healthcare professionals feel able to tell women about abortion services outside of Northern Ireland and the ability to offer a referral, which impacts particularly on women who have received the devastating news that something is wrong with a much wanted pregnancy.
This amendment asks for quarterly guidance to address matters arising from the current law on abortion that relate to the provision and management of NI public services. This amendment also asks that the Secretary of State sets out plans address the impact of the absence of NI Ministers on human rights obligations.
This amendment has been tabled by Stella Creasy MP and Conor McGinn MP and signed by a cross-party group including Crispin Blunt, Heidi Allen, Jo Swinson, and Caroline Lucas.
As somebody who lives in Northern Ireland, with no other politicians to speak for me, I am asking you as a matter of urgency to support amendment NC7 this evening.