From 22 October 2019, if there is no restoration of devolution, a moratorium on criminal prosecutions and police investigations will come into effect. The additional recommendations will be implemented on 31 March 2020.
The guidance sets out what will happen between these two dates, including that the financial support to cover travel and accommodation available to women journeying to Britain will no longer be means-tested and that terminations may be carried out in Northern Ireland lawfully in cases of fatal or serious foetal anomaly using clinical guidance available from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Guidance on the application of freedom of conscience is also included, utilising the General Medical Council’s existing guidelines. A further consultation document will be issued on or shortly after 22 October, on arrangements from 31 March 2020 onwards.
Provision to introduce equal marriage and civil partnerships for opposite-sex couples are also due to be implemented under the same legislation from 13 January 2020.
These changes follow long-standing campaigns on both issues including legal challenges to existing law.