The 1967 Abortion Act was never extended to Northern Ireland.
NUS-USI calls for the decriminalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland rather than the extension of the Abortion Act for a number of reasons:
- The Abortion Act did not decriminalise abortion in Great Britain. The Act simply provides a legal defence to prosecution under the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act for medical professionals who perform abortions.
- Section 1 of the Abortion Act requires two medical professionals to sign off on an abortion procedure. This legal rule does not apply to any other aspect of reproductive healthcare in the UK.
- Subsections (a) to (d) of Section 1 of the Abortion Act effectively pathologise the choice to end a pregnancy. The grounds for abortion under the Act frame the decision to have an abortion exclusively as a matter of health or welfare, regardless of the specific circumstances of the person seeking an abortion.
- NUS-USI believes that abortion should be governed by the same robust regulatory and ethical frameworks as other medical procedures.
- NUS-USI believes that any framework for abortion law reform in the North of Ireland must be inclusive of trans men, as well as non-binary, gender fluid and intersex people. The language of the Abortion Act, which reflects contemporary values and knowledge in 1967, does not meet this standard.