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Women from Northern Ireland will be able to get free abortions in England, the government has said. They currently have to pay. The BBC's political editor said ministers made the concession because it appeared some Tory MPs might back the call, risking a possible defeat.

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Abortions are only allowed in Northern Ireland if a woman's life is at risk or there is a permanent or Women from uk risk to her physical or mental health. Rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormalities are not circumstances in which they can be performed legally.

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Women seeking an abortion can travel to England to have one privately, but had not been allowed to have them free on the NHS - a position that was backed by the UK Supreme Court earlier this month.

An amendment on the issue, co-ordinated by Labour's Stella Creasy, which had cross-party backing, had been selected for inclusion in the Queen's Speech debate - which meant Theresa May's Women from uk ran the risk of possible defeat.

The news of the change of policy was welcomed by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service which described it as a "landmark moment: Without an overall majority, the Tories were facing a defeat after an impressive campaign by the Labour backbencher Stella Creasy that had garnered support among Women from uk of Conservatives who looked like they might rebel and Women from uk with her, rather than with their party bosses.

Rather than risk a defeat on a critical day when the Queen's Speech has to pass, Conservative ministers were willing to shift in the end - to make a big concession to avoid being beaten.

Queen's Speech votes are seen as a matter of confidence votes in any government. After chucking away her majority, it is vital today that Theresa May avoids any further embarrassment.

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Read more from Laura. Abortion provider Marie Stopes UK said it was "a hugely positive step forward, but there is no reason why these services shouldn't be provided in Northern Ireland, saving thousands of women each year the cost and stress of travelling to the mainland".

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But anti-abortion charity Life said the government should be "neutral on the issue of abortion". Conservative Sir Peter Bottomley asked why, in the case of women from Northern Ireland, "only the poor should be denied lawful abortions".

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Chancellor Philip Hammond replied Women from uk Justine Greening, the minister for women and equalities, "intends to intervene to fund abortions in England for women arriving here from Northern Ireland". They will, effectively, be left with two choices - ordering abortion pills online or travelling across the Irish Sea, often to Liverpool.

Online pills are illegal and taken without medical supervision. Going to England comes with the expense of the journey, accommodation, time off work and the procedure itself.

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The cost is thought to stop some women from the poorest Northern Ireland families having an abortion in England. So, the announcement that the procedure, but not the other costs, will be free in England could influence some of those difficult, personal decisions. The courts have ruled any decision on abortion law lies with the Northern Ireland Assembly, so any change in the law is deeply unlikely.

Campaigner Sarah Ewart, who travelled to England for a termination in after doctors said her unborn child had no chance of survival outside the womb, said of the chancellor's announcement that it was positive news, but it was unfortunate that women from Northern Ireland found themselves in this position in the first place.

The estimate Women from uk based on the women who travelled from Northern Ireland last year to have Women from uk abortion.

The concession on abortion came on the same day Belfast's Court of Appeal ruled abortion law in Northern Ireland should be left to the Stormont Assembly, not judges - effectively overturning an earlier ruling that the current abortion laws were incompatible with human rights laws. PwC says high street turmoil will continue, as gap between shop closures and openings hits Women from uk level.

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Northern Ireland women to get free abortions in England 29 June Media playback is unsupported on your device. More on this story. Tories should consider replacing Theresa May.


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