image copyright image caption Abortion was decriminalized in 2019 in Northern Ireland, but services complete have been blocked
Westminster has called on the Stormont Health Department to set up comprehensive abortion services in Northern Ireland by next March.
The government intervened with a formal instruction demanding that Stormont act.
The changestions to abortion laws came into effect last year after Westminster acted during the lack of devolution.
But commissioning of services has been stalled due disagreements within the five-party executive.
In March, Mr. Lewis took unprecedented powers allowing him to direct Stormont to act, but he had not used until now.
The government previously stated that it was required to comply with legal and human rights obligations on abortion services in Northern Ireland and would step in if the delay at Stormont persisted.
In a written statement to Parliament , Mr Lewis said he was forwarding the directive to the Department of Health, Minister of Health Robin Swann and the Board of Health and Social Services.
He added that while he recognized the pressure Covid-19 had placed on healthcare, he remained "extremely disappointed "That the full commissioning proposals have not progressed.
" This current stalemate leaves me with no choice but to provide direction, "he said.
"I have a legal and moral obligation to ensure that women andGirls in Northern Ireland are granted their rights and can access health care. "
He also said he " recognizes and respects the deeply held views that individuals hold on abortion "laws.
" However, it is the clear will of Parliament that the rights of women and girls in Northern Ireland are properly respected. "
copyright of 'image Reuters caption of the image Brandon Lewis said he had "no choice " but to intervene
The secretary of state said he was also leading the first and Deputy Prime Ministers that "once the proposals are presented by the Ministry of Health, they must be placed on the agenda " of the next executive meeting.
It is understood that Mr Lewis told Stormont parties that he believes the costs of commissioned abortion services should be covered by the executive through his block grant.
The Department of Health and the executive board were invited to comment.
This important move is likely to be subject to criticism from some of the parties in Northern Ireland, who have accused Mr Lewis of 'violating devolution when it initially intervened earlier this year.
Details are laid out in a written statement to Parliament but Stormont parties have already beeninformed of the development.
Abortion is a devolved matter, but services have not been fully defined as parts of the executive remain at a standstill.
The government has also ordered that there be "immediate support " for early interim medical abortion services in Northern Ireland.
Analysis: further intervention by the NI secretary
This is the second significant intervention by Brandon Lewis on Northern Ireland in a little over 'a week.
But unlike when the Stormont parties united against the legacy proposals, there will be no unity this time around.
While some pro-choice parties say the government had no choice but to act due to the delay and disagreements within the executive, others opposed to it. abortion say this is a total devolution overrun.
The government hasmade it clear that he did not want to interfere, but given the duties he must also fulfill, his patience with Stormont was exhausted.
This does not take matters out of the hands of the parties however .
Proposals for abortion services will always need to go to the five-p artistic executive, where any substantive discussion is likely to lead to even more
'Necessary and inevitable '
The deputy of the Alliance Party, Stephen Farry said the intervention "respected the law and human rights". La Hfrance.fr is not responsible for the content of external sites. See original tweet on Twitter
However DUP MP Carla Lockhart said abortion laws should bere decided by Stormont.
"What we have in this statement from the Secretary of State is another example of a government acting without respect for the local electorate and elected officials.
"The DUP is ready to find a locally agreed way forward. We urge all parties who sit with us on the Northern Ireland executive to share this intention. "
image caption UUP leader Doug Beattie says que provision of abortion services should take place
Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) leader Doug Beattie said he believed the provision of services "is definitely going to happen ".
"Abortion is legal in Northern Ireland and so we need to have the services in place to make sure they can be delivered.
"The Ulster Unionist Party has a conscientious stance on abortion but myself as a Member of Parliament (NI Assembly Member) I think we need to 'have safe abortion services for women here in Northern Ireland, and that they should be provided as soon as possible. "
NI Green Party leader Clare Bailey said stated that it "looked forward to " a stigma-free service. La Hfrance.fr is not responsible for the content of external sites. Viewthe original tweet on Twitter
Grainne Teggart, Amnesty International 's campaign manager for Northern Ireland, said said: "Once again, Westminster action was needed to ensure the realization of abortion rights here.
" Services in line with our new law have been difficult time to arrive; commissioning must now be swift to end the unacceptable denial of healthcare. "
Alliance for Choice said it was a " relief " , but warned that access to provisional early abortion services remained "precarious ".
However, Abolish Abortion Northern Ireland said Mr Lewis had "destroyed the whole concept devolution "by " appointing himself "Northern Ireland's Minister for Health.
A spokesperson said: " We ask Robin Swann to issue immediately a counter-instruction to his department and the Council ofhealth and social services to quash this act of tyranny by the Secretary of State.
"Failing that we will call on the Prime Minister, who is also headed to play his role in full implementation, to step down.
Abortion 'controversial '
Abortion laws changed in Northern Ireland in March 2020, allowing terminations under certain circumstances.
According to the latest figures from Northern Ireland Department Health, 1,556 layoffs have taken place in Northern Ireland since March 2020.
But health trusts have provided only limited services, meaning some women seeking abortions in - over 10 weeks pregnant had to travel to Britain to access services.
The Department of Health has maintained that the issue is "controversial " and that any decision on services abortion must be taken by the entire executive.
In May, the proposals of theUlster Unionist Party (UUP) Health Minister Robin Swann on commissioning abortion services have been blocked executive discussion by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
The party is opposed to abortion and has previously criticized Mr Lewis for taking the power to act, saying it would have "serious consequences for devolution ". ".
Sinn Fein, the SDLP and the Alliance have said they will support the Westminster-imposed commissioning of services if it remains blocked by the executive.