Marie Stopes UK has announced it will no longer charge fees for Northern Irish women travelling to England for abortion, following a government commitment to fund their treatment through the Equalities Office.
Following discussions with the Government, Marie Stopes UK has taken the decision to waive fees for any Northern Irish woman accessing its abortion services after Friday 30th June. Women from Northern Ireland who have been treated by Marie Stopes UK since that date will be contacted to have their consultation and treatment costs refunded.
Sally Bassett, acting Managing Director at Marie Stopes UK, said: "The Government has advised us that its decision to fund Northern Irish women was with immediate effect. We are working closely with government partners to establish how this will work in practice, but we believe it is right to remove fees for Northern Irish women while this conversation is ongoing, and to refund women who have received treatment since the announcement.
"We are delighted to be working with government to implement this change, which will substantially reduce the cost of abortion for Northern Irish women. Ideally these services would be provided in Northern Ireland itself, but until that happens, this is an important step forward."
In 2012, Marie Stopes UK launched a clinic in Belfast, the first independent clinic on the island of Ireland to offer abortion services within the local legal framework.
Marie Stopes UK is encouraging any woman from Northern Ireland who would like to book an appointment, or to receive more information about services, to call its free, 24-hour helpline on 0345 300 8090.
For interviews and further information please contact:
Tel: 020 7034 2377/ 020 3219 8245 or 07769 166 516 (out of hours)
About Marie Stopes UK
Marie Stopes UK is a leading independent provider of sexual and reproductive health services. Every year more than 70,000 women and men come to our centres for information, advice, professional care and support. In addition to these face-to-face consultations, our 24hr confidential helpline One Call (0345 300 8090) offers advice or counselling day or night and last year received more than 300,000 calls.
Choice is fundamental to everything we do, and we respect the right of a woman to decide whether and when to have children. To achieve this we believe that all women should have access to comprehensive sexual health services, and that these services should be of the highest quality. For more information, please visit our website www.mariestopes.org.uk.
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