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to stop the NI censorship zone Bill

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Call your MLAs to stop the NI censorship zone Bill

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The email we have just sent to you includes the phone numbers of your MLAs ranked in order of who to call first, with a simple outline of what will be most helpful to cover on the phone.

IMPORTANT: The Final Stage for this Bill will take place this Tuesday (22 March), so it is best if you can call your MLAs now to ensure they sign a Petition of Concern ahead of the Final Stage vote.

Clare Bailey MLA has brought forward the Abortion Services (Safe Access Zones) Bill to Stormont.

The Bill would allow the introduction of censorship zones outside places which offer abortions across Northern Ireland. This would make it a criminal offence to “influenc[e]… a… person [seeking an abortion], whether directly or indirectly” within “safe access zones”. The Bill would effectively criminalise offers of assistance in these censorship zones.

At Committee Stage of the Bill, a public consultation was undertaken on the Bill and only 13 of the 6,412 submissions from members of the public supported the Bill. Despite this overwhelming opposition from among the general public, the Committee decided to progress the Bill.

This Final Stage for this Bill will take place this Tuesday (22 March). 

WHAT IS A PETITION OF CONCERN AND HOW WILL IT STOP THIS BILL?

This Bill can be stopped if 30 MLAs sign a Petition of Concern.

29 MLAs (28 DUP MLAs and TUV MLA Jim Allister) have voted against the Bill at every stage of its progress. If just 1 extra MLA joins these 29 MLAs to sign a Petition of Concern, the Bill will effectively not be able to proceed and will not become law.

A large number of MLAs who have voted pro-life throughout their entire political careers have been persuaded to vote for or abstain on votes for this legislation. We just need one of these MLAs to sign a Petition of Concern for the Bill to be effectively stopped. 

This is not a long shot, but we will not be able to get this across the line without your help. 

MORE INFORMATION ON THE PETITION OF CONCERN

The Petition of Concern is a mechanism whereby 30 MLAs can petition the Assembly to require a matter to be passed on a cross-community basis rather than by a simple majority.

This will mean that 60 percent of the chamber and 40 percent of both unionist and nationalist representatives will need to vote for the Bill.

If a Petition of Concern successfully reaches 30 signatures, as will happen if only 1 MLA joins the 29 MLAs (28 DUP MLAs and TUV MLA Jim Allister) who have voted against the Bill at every stage of its progress, it will then move on to a cross-community vote. At this stage, if the 29 unionist MLAs who have voted against the Bill at every stage, vote against it on this vote as they likely will, it will not have sufficient unionist votes to pass, and will fail.

Please enter your postcode in the box above to call your MLAs now asking them if they will sign a Petition of Concern on the Abortion Services (Safe Access Zones) Bill.

Call your MLAs to sign a Petition of Concern to stop the NI censorship zone Bill side

Call your MLAs
to stop the NI censorship zone Bill