Northern Ireland

Sinn Fein opposes 'abortions only via NHS' law bid

pregnancy test
Image caption A termination must be carried out before a woman is nine weeks pregnant in Northern Ireland

Sinn Fein says it opposes a plan to amend Northern Ireland's law and stop abortions performed outside the NHS.

Caitriona Ruane said the move by the DUP's Paul Givan and the SDLP's Alban Maginness was an attempt to restrict a woman's right to obtain a termination in life-threatening circumstances.

The amendment to the criminal justice bill will be debated and voted on in the NI Assembly next Tuesday.

But Sinn Fein has not said if it will attempt to block the change.

The two MLAs unveiled a joint amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill on Wednesday.

They said they were confident it would win sufficient support to be passed into law in Northern Ireland this year.

They said they were closing a loophole in the law.

The plan to amend the law, revealed to the BBC, came after the opening of a private abortion and family planning clinic in Belfast last autumn.

Marie Stopes International has said it operates within the current law in Northern Ireland, which is different from the rest of the UK as it only allows for abortion when the mother's physical or mental health is in danger.

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