Abortion Policy – Challenges and Opportunities

This presentation considers the development and implementation of abortion policy in Northern Ireland, setting it within all-Ireland, United Kingdom (UK) and international context. It explores policy development in this area since the commencement of the Northern Ireland Assembly and analyses the extent to which this has been informed by evidence. The presentation identifies evidence related to the demand for abortion services including an analysis of 10 year trends in the profile of those who travel to England and Wales for abortion services. It is noted that from this analysis there is no stereotypical profile of those who travel, either in terms of age, marital status or ethnic identity (white Irish/ white British). It also considers the data that is available on those who access abortion services in Northern Ireland and issues related to self-abortion at home. The presentation concludes by considering current debates on legislative reform within the UK and Ireland with a specific focus on the debate surrounding decriminalisation of abortion.