Health Minister announces consultation on guidance on termination of pregnancy

HEALTH Minister Edwin Poots has announced a 16-week public consultation on guidelines for health and social care professionals on termination of pregnancy.

The consultation will run until July 26.

The revised guidance – “The limited circumstances for a lawful termination of pregnancy in Northern Ireland: A guidance document for health and social care professionals on law and clinical practice”- was considered by the Northern Ireland Executive at a meeting on March 28. It was agreed a consultation exercise should take place.

Mr Poots said: “My Department has been working towards production of guidance in this area for some time.

“This document ensures health and social care professionals and organisations are clear on their responsibilities.

“It does not change the law that frames termination of pregnancy in Northern Ireland. I welcome the Executive’s agreement to a public consultation and encourage all interested parties to respond.”

The guidance document builds on previous versions which were issued for consultation and have been subject to consideration by the courts. The document confirms that terminations of pregnancy should only result under limited circumstances.

It includes a new recommendation that assessments on grounds of mental health should be carried out by a consultant psychiatrist.