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Abortion

Volume 449: debated on Wednesday 19 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects to publish the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety’s guidance on abortion in Northern Ireland; which (a) individuals and (b) organisations were involved in drawing up the draft guidance; what the timetable is for the consultation; and if he will make a statement. (85219)

The aim is to publish guidance on abortion in Northern Ireland early next year. In developing the guidance the Department has taken on board the views of representatives from a wide range of professional and specialty backgrounds including nursing and midwifery, obstetrics and gynaecology, public health, psychiatry, clinical genetics, family planning doctors and general practitioners. It is proposed to issue draft guidance to interested parties for consultation in September.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland who the members of the working party on guidance on abortion in Northern Ireland are; what relevant specialist qualifications each holds; what the career of each has been to date; what criteria were used in selecting them; how many and what percentage are on the public record as (a) supporting and (b) opposing abortion; when the working party has met; what the (i) location and (ii) duration of each meeting was; whether a record of each meeting was kept; who attended each meeting; if he will list public meetings organised by the working party; who addressed each meeting; at what cost; who attended each public meeting; whether a record of each public meeting was kept; what the cost was of each public meeting, broken down by (A) administrative costs, (B) costs of refreshments and (C) other costs; and if he will make a statement. (85222)

Members of the working party were not asked about their personal views on abortion as the intention was that the working party should comprise individuals from a wide range of professional and specialty backgrounds including nursing and midwifery, obstetrics and gynaecology, public health, psychiatry, clinical genetics, family planning doctors and general practitioners.

The working party has met twice. The first time was 4 May 2005 at The Mount in Belfast and the second time was on 19 December 2005 at Castle Buildings, Stormont. The meeting on 4 May was exploratory in nature, and to enable a free and frank exchange of views no formal record was taken. Minutes of the meeting on 19 December at Castle Buildings will be placed in the Library. This document includes details of members of the working party.

No public meetings have been held by the working party.