Women in NI should be given same abortion access as those in Republic and UK - Taoiseach

Women in Northern Ireland should be given the same abortion access rights as their counterparts in the Republic and the UK, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said.

Speaking to reporters in Belfast 24 hours after the UK supreme court indicated a case taken by an individual on rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormality grounds would be successful, Mr Varadkar said it is not his role to intervene in Northern Ireland.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

However, in a carefully phrased response, the Taoiseach added he believes Northern Ireland should represent the best options of the Republic and the UK, and that in his personal view this means abortion access similar to what is available in those jurisdictions should be allowed in the province.

"On the issue of abortion, as you know we had the referendum in the Republic only a few short weeks ago and the Irish people decided by a very large majority to delete our constitutional ban on abortion.

And I'm definitely not here to tell the people of Northern Ireland what they should or should not do, so I think that's very much something that should be a matter for the Northern Ireland assembly.

"But on a personal basis I really feel that what Northern Ireland should be is the best of Ireland and the best of Britain, and that to me means that any right an Irish citizen has in Ireland or a British citizen has in Britain should be available," Mr Varadkar said.

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