‘RCM providing support to members now guidance on abortion law in Northern Ireland has been published’

By ‘RCM providing support to members now guidance on abortion law in Northern Ireland has been published’ on 04 October 2019 Abortion Northern Ireland Director For Northern Ireland Midwifery Safe high quality care Consultations Evidence-Based Practice

The government has published interim guidance for healthcare professionals on abortion law in Northern Ireland.

The new guidelines cover the period from 22 October to 31 March 2020.

They set out what will happen following changes to the law after 21 October, if the NI Executive is not restored.

The guidance states that no criminal charges can be brought against those who have an abortion, or against health care professionals who provide and assist in an abortion.


Responding to guidance, the Royal College of Midwives Director for Northern Ireland, Karen Murray said;

“The RCM welcome the publication of UK Government Guidance for Healthcare Professionals in Northern Ireland on Abortion Law and Terminations of pregnancy. 

We understand the need for interim arrangements before abortion services can be fully provided – there is much to arrange including appropriate training of professionals. 

“The new arrangements simply mean that women will not be criminalised for seeking an abortion and midwives will not be criminalised for supporting, advising or signposting women to services.

“Whilst conscientious objection for Midwives is identified within the guidance we would have preferred to see more explicit direction for our members. Those midwives with an objection to participating in abortions are due and deserve the same right to conscientiously object as their colleagues throughout the UK.  

“Now that we have the guidance the RCM will be working to provide practical support to its members, particularly in relation to how this sits with their professional code of practice.



To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email [email protected]

The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.