MPs raise fears that Conservative deal with DUP may scupper free terminations in UK for women from Northern Ireland
MPs have warned that abortion rights for Northern Irish women travelling to the UK for a termination must be addressed despite the Conservative deal with the DUP, repeatedly raising their concerns during a heated debate in the Commons.
Labour MP Stella Creasy and Conservative MP Anna Soubry were among those who called on the government to permit Northern Irish women terminations in England without charge.
Womens rights campaigners have expressed concerns about the implications of the DUP deal for any prospect of the government extending the right to an NHS termination to Northern Irish women travelling to England.
This month the supreme court narrowly ruled that women from Northern Ireland were not entitled to free abortions on the NHS in England, a judgment that coincided with talks beginning on a confidence and supply agreement between the Conservatives and the DUP. Northern Ireland has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe.
The DUP agreement, published on Monday, makes no mention of the issue. But MPs in the House of Commons raised fears with the first secretary of state, Damian Green, that the government may have a tacit understanding with the DUP not to change the law in England.
This isnt a devolved matter, this is about when they come to our shores here, UK taxpayers and their ability to use UK services, Creasy said. Did the government make any commitment to the DUP about this matter when it comes to the house or are Northern Irish women simply expected to pay the price for what feels like a forced marriage?