On Friday the Welsh government announced that it would offer free abortions to women from Northern Ireland. However, it was not until this morning, that the summary of the consultation responses around this decision was published. You can find the summary here.
In total, the consultation received 802 responses. Of those responses, 14 received were positive about the proposal while 788 were opposed to it. In percentage terms, 98.254% of respondents opposed the proposal for the Welsh Government to fund abortions for women travelling from Northern Ireland while only 1.746% were in favour. Of the 14 positive responses, not a single one was received from an individual Northern Irish female respondent.
Marion Woods, spokeswoman for Both Lives Matter commented,
“There are serious questions to be answered about this consultation and it’s outcome. It is very strange that over 98% of respondents opposed the proposal and this is not even mentioned by the Welsh government when the decision was announced. If this decision had gone the other way in the face of such opposition you can guarantee urgent questions would be raised about the democratic process.”
“This extension of abortion services is not about what are often described as the ‘hard cases’ where much of the debate on abortion in Northern Ireland has focussed. This extension includes abortion for any reason currently allowed under the 1967 Abortion Act up to 24 weeks gestation, and abortion for babies with disability up until birth.”
Marion Woods concludes,
“Finally it is important to remember that the Scottish and British Governments did not even run consultations on this subject when they extended their provision of abortion. This, together with the way that the new abortion legislation is being handled in the South reveals the contempt with which those who want to give dignity to both women and their unborn children are treated by many in politics on these islands. It is deeply concerning and only increases suspicion and polarisation around these important issues.”