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Abortion

Volume 490: debated on Monday 30 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) who drafted the Guidance on the Termination of Pregnancy: The Law and Clinical Practice in Northern Ireland; which (a) individuals and (b) organisations were consulted prior to writing the Guidance; and if he will make a statement; (266995)

(2) when the Guidance on the Termination of Pregnancy: The Law and Clinical Practice in Northern Ireland will come into force; and if he will make a statement;

(3) how many abortions were performed on women in Northern Ireland on the grounds that (a) it was necessary to preserve the life of the woman and (b) there was a risk of real and serious adverse effect on her physical or mental health, which was either long-term or permanent in each of the last five years, broken down by health authority;

(4) if he will include information on (a) counselling and (b) possible alternatives to abortion in the Guidance on the Termination of Pregnancy: The Law and Clinical Practice in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement.

This is not a matter for which my Department has responsibility. The law relating to the termination of pregnancy is part of the criminal law and as such is a matter currently reserved to the UK Parliament. However, the provision of health and social care services, including information or guidance of the sort to which the hon. Gentleman refers, is a devolved matter and is the responsibility of the Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety.