Assembly must now deliver modern, compassionate healthcare for women – O’Neill

Speaking in today’s Assembly debate on the issue of abortion, Sinn Féin Leas Uachtarán Michelle O’Neill MLA said:

“We have had enough of women being exiled abroad or taking abortion pills, often alone and afraid, without medical supervision.

“This is the moment to draw the line. 

She added: “The moment to stand up for healthcare rights and equality. To ensure a better future for our daughters, our granddaughters, and all women.

“Sinn Féin policy is about enacting modern healthcare and ending the mistreatment of women. It is about compassion.

“I have listened to women who have bravely shared their personal and tragic stories. 

“Women who have had to take cold and lonesome journeys to England to access abortion services.

“Women who were raped.

“Women who knew their baby had no chance of surviving.

“These journeys left deep emotional scars and a profound sense of abandonment.  Alongside feelings of betrayal and distrust that can never be fully repaired.

She said: “That women still have to make such journeys in 2021 reflects badly on everyone.

“We have to end the failure, the mistreatment and the abandonment.

“We have to speak with one voice and say loudly that women are entitled to modern, compassionate healthcare and that we will be the Assembly that delivers it.

“The women of this island have waited long enough for access to modern and compassionate abortion health services.

“That is an undeniable, appalling fact.

“Yet here we are today where, instead of supporting the provision of modern, compassionate abortion services for women, the DUP and UUP continues to hold up and deny this essential healthcare service to women and girls who need it.

“Westminster had to legislate for abortion services in the North because of the blockages created by the DUP – the very same people attempting to roll back on the progress made.

“The DUP created this situation and took responsibility away from the Assembly to legislate on this issue.

“Sinn Féin has an all-Ireland position and policy on abortion services.

She concluded saying: “We want to see the very same laws and services that have been adopted in the South, following the repeal of the Eighth Amendment, to be implemented here in the North also. The very same health care services available in Dublin must be available here in Belfast.” CRÍOCH/ENDS