Disappointment over NI abortion vote

Christian advocacy group CARE has spoken of its disappointment over the failure of proposals to prevent private organisations and charities providing abortion services in Northern Ireland.

The proposals were part of an amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill debated in the Northern Ireland Assembly this week. They included jail sentences of up to 10 years for non-NHS terminations.

Although more voted in favour than against - 53 to 40 - the amendment did not reach the required majority threshold among both nationalists and unionists.

CARE said Assembly members must now look at the effective regulation of private abortion providers.

The advocacy group called for transparency and measures to ensure abortion providers operate within the law.

There should also be no conflicts of interests, it added, stating that organisations "with an ideological commitment to liberalise abortion law" should not be permitted to provide abortions.

Mark Baillie, CARE in Northern Ireland's public affairs officer said: "We believe it is crucial that private providers of abortion services are subject to robust regulation.

"No effective case for abortion provision outside the NHS has actually yet been made. Furthermore, there is no evidence to suggest that there is a lack of capacity within the NHS to provide legal abortions in Northern Ireland where the mother's life is in danger."