The Abortion (Northern Ireland) (No. 2) Regulations 2020

Publication Date:January 01, 2020
 
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2020No. 503

HEALTH AND PERSONAL SOCIAL SERVICES, NORTHERN IRELAND

The Abortion (Northern Ireland) (No. 2) Regulations 2020

Made12thMay2020

Laid before Parliament13thMay2020

Coming into force14thMay2020

The Minister of State makes these Regulations in exercise of the powers conferred by sections 9 and 11 of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019( 1).

PART 1

Introductory

Citation, commencement, extent and revocation

1.—(1) These Regulations—

(a) may be cited as the Abortion (Northern Ireland) (No. 2) Regulations 2020;

(b) come into force on 14th May 2020;

(c) extend to Northern Ireland only.

(2) The Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2020 are revoked( 2).

Interpretation

2.—(1) The Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland) 1954( 3) applies to these Regulations as it applies to an Act of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

(2) In these Regulations—

“the Department” means the Department of Health in Northern Ireland;

“registered medical practitioner” means a fully registered person within the meaning of the Medical Act 1983( 4) who holds a licence to practise under that Act;

“registered”, in relation to a nurse or midwife, means registered in the register maintained under article 5 of the Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001( 5) by virtue of qualifications in nursing or midwifery, as the case may be;

“registered medical professional” means—

(a) a registered medical practitioner;

(b) a registered midwife;

(c) a registered nurse;

“termination” means a termination of pregnancy;

(3) References in these Regulations to a woman include a person of any age who is pregnant.

(4) References in these Regulations to the termination of pregnancy are references to its termination (whether by medical or surgical means) as regards any fetus in circumstances where it is intended that that fetus will not be delivered alive.

PART 2

Grounds for termination: cases with gestational limit

Pregnancy not exceeding 12 weeks

3. A registered medical professional may terminate a pregnancy where a registered medical professional is of the opinion, formed in good faith, that the pregnancy has not exceeded its 12th week.

Risk to physical or mental health where pregnancy not exceeding 24 weeks

4.—(1) A registered medical professional may terminate a pregnancy where two registered medical professionals are of the opinion, formed in good faith, that—

(a) the pregnancy has not exceeded its 24th week; and

(b) the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman which is greater than if the pregnancy were terminated.

(2) In forming an opinion as to the matter mentioned in paragraph (1)(b), account may be taken of the pregnant woman's actual or reasonably foreseeable circumstances.

PART 3

Grounds for termination: cases with no gestational limit

Immediate necessity

5. A registered medical professional may terminate a pregnancy where a registered medical professional is of the opinion, formed in good faith, that the termination is immediately necessary to save the life, or to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health, of the pregnant woman.

Risk to life or grave permanent injury to physical or mental health of pregnant woman

6. A registered medical professional may terminate a pregnancy where two registered medical professionals are of the opinion, formed in good faith, that—

(a) the termination is necessary to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman; or

(b) the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman which is greater than if the pregnancy were terminated.

Severe fetal impairment or fatal fetal abnormality

7.—(1) A registered medical professional may terminate a pregnancy where two registered medical professionals are of the opinion, formed in good faith, that there is a substantial risk that the condition of the fetus is such that—

(a) the death of the fetus is likely before, during or shortly after birth; or

(b) if the child were born, it would suffer from such physical or mental impairment as to be seriously disabled.

(2) In the case of a woman carrying more than one fetus, anything done to terminate the pregnancy as regards a particular fetus is authorised by paragraph (1) only if that paragraph applies in relation to that fetus.

PART 4

Places where treatment for terminations may be carried out

Places where treatment for terminations may be carried out

8.—(1) Any treatment for the termination of pregnancy must be carried out—

(a) in an HSC hospital;

(b) at a clinic provided by an HSC trust for the purpose of carrying out terminations (whether or not the clinic also provides other services);

(c) at premises used to provide primary medical services in accordance with arrangements under the Health and Personal Social Services (Northern Ireland) Order 1972( 6);

(d) in the case of the second stage of treatment for termination where the conditions mentioned in paragraph (2) are satisfied, in the home of the pregnant woman; or

(e) at a place approved under paragraph (3).

(2) The conditions mentioned in paragraph (1)(d) are that—

(a) the woman undergoing treatment for the termination of pregnancy has attended a place mentioned in sub-paragraph (a), (b) or (c) of paragraph (1) where she has been prescribed Mifepristone and Misoprostol to be taken for the purposes of terminating the pregnancy;

(b) the woman has taken Mifepristone at that place; and

(c) the pregnancy has not exceeded its 10th week.

(3) The Department may, for the purposes of these Regulations, approve a place for the carrying out of terminations.

(4) The power under paragraph (3) to approve a place includes power, in relation to a termination carried out by means consisting primarily in the use of such medicines as may be specified in the approval and carried out in such manner as may be so specified, to approve a class of places.

(5) An approval under this regulation—

(a) must be given in writing;

(b) must be published by the Department in such manner as it thinks appropriate.

(6) In this regulation—

“home”, in relation to a woman, means the place in Northern Ireland where the woman has her permanent address or usually resides;

“HSC hospital” means a hospital managed by an HSC trust;

“HSC trust” means a health and social care trust established under Article 10 of the Health and Personal Social Services (Northern Ireland) Order 1991( 7);

“second stage of treatment” means the taking of the medicine Misoprostol.

PART 5

Certification of opinion and notification of termination

Certification of opinion by registered medical professional

9.—(1) An opinion given for the purposes of these Regulations must be certified—

(a) in a case falling within regulation 3 or 5, in a certificate signed and dated by the registered medical professional;

(b) in a case falling within regulation 4, 6 or 7, in a certificate signed and dated by both registered medical professionals.

(2) The certificate in a case falling within regulation 3 or 5 must state—

(a) the full name and address of the registered medical professional;

(b) the Health and Care number of the pregnant woman;

(c) whether or not the registered medical professional has seen, or seen and examined, the pregnant woman; and

(d) that the registered medical professional is of the opinion, formed in good faith, that the ground mentioned in the regulation in question is fulfilled.

(3) The certificate in a case falling within regulation 4, 6 or 7 must state—

(a) the full name and address of each of the registered medical professionals;

(b) the Health and Care number of the pregnant woman;

(c) whether or not each registered medical professional has seen, or seen and examined, the pregnant woman; and

(d) that each registered medical professional is of the opinion, formed in good faith, that one and the same ground mentioned in the regulation in question is fulfilled.

(4) A certificate must be given—

(a) before the commencement of the treatment for the termination of the pregnancy to which it relates; or

(b) in the case of a termination falling within regulation 5 where compliance with subparagraph (a) is not reasonably practicable, not later than 24 hours after the termination.

(5) A certificate—

(a) must be preserved by the registered medical professional who terminated the pregnancy to which it relates for a period of not less than 3 years beginning with the date of termination; and

(b) must, at the end of that period, be destroyed by the person in whose custody it then is.

(6) A person who intentionally contravenes any provision of this regulation commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale.

(7) Proceedings in respect of an offence under paragraph (6) may be brought only by, or with the consent of, the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland.

(8) The Department may provide forms for the purpose of certifying the opinions of registered medical professionals.

Notification of termination to Chief Medical Officer

10.—(1) A registered medical professional who terminates a pregnancy must give to the Chief Medical Officer of the Department—

(a) notice of the termination; and

(b) such other information relating to the termination as is specified in the Schedule to these Regulations.

(2) Notice and information under paragraph (1) must be given—

(a) within 14 days beginning with—

(i) in a case where the termination is by treatment with Mifepristone, the date of that treatment; or

(ii) in all other cases, the date on which the termination occurred; and

(b) in a sealed envelope or by e-mail.

(3) Any notice or information given to the Chief Medical Officer under this regulation must not be disclosed except—

(a) for the purpose of carrying out the functions of the Department, to an officer of the Department authorised by the Chief Medical Officer;

(b) for the purpose of carrying out the functions...

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