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Boris Johnson: Abortion should not be imposed on Northern Ireland

Conservative Party leadership contender and possible future Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has stated that the question of abortion law in Northern Ireland “is for the people of Northern Ireland and their politicians”.

In the Conservative Belfast Leadership Hustings on Tuesday 2nd July, Mr Johnson made clear his support for abortion remaining a devolved issue in Northern Ireland and recognised that it was not right for Westminster to impose abortion on the region.

He said: “I think that is pre-eminently a matter for the people of Northern Ireland, and that is why…I hope that the Government in Northern Ireland can be resumed as soon as possible so that this issue can be decided in the forum where it properly belongs. In other words, at Stormont.”

He added “This is for the people of Northern Ireland and their politicians.”

Both remaining Conservative Party leadership candidates, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, have now stated their support that Westminster should not impose abortion on Northern Ireland, and that it should remain a devolved issue.

This position reflects the sentiment among MPs in the Conservative Party and the public in Northern Ireland on the issue with  72% of Conservative MPs and the majority of women in Northern Ireland being in favour of continued devolution of abortion law in the region.

Dawn McAvoy co-founder of the Both Lives Matters campaign, who support both women and unborn children in Northern Ireland, commented, 

“Our distinctive law in Northern Ireland strikes a difficult and delicate balance which means that over 100,000 people are alive in Northern Ireland today because politicians here did not implement the 1967 Abortion Act.” 

“For the last few years there has been a strong push from a small number of abortion advocates to change the law to allow more abortion in Northern Ireland. They are clearly out of step. We welcome today’s news and will continue to pursue the very simple and human vision that both lives matter alongside our efforts to secure even more valuable services which allow both lives to flourish in a pregnancy crisis. .”

Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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Dear reader

In 2020, the UK Government imposed an extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland, which included a provision that legalised abortion right up to birth for disabilties including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.

A new Bill has been launched at the Northern Ireland assembly that will remove the current provision that allows abortion for ‘severe fetal impairment’.

It is under these grounds in the regulations that babies with disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot can currently be singled out for abortion in Northern Ireland because of their disability and can be aborted right up to birth.

Before the new abortion regime was imposed on Northern Ireland in 2020, disability-selective abortion for conditions such as Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot was not legal and there was a culture of welcoming and supporting people with these disabilities rather than eliminating them.

This is reflected directly in the latest figures (2016) from the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, which show that while there were 52 children born with Down’s syndrome in Northern Ireland, in the same year only 1 child from Northern Ireland with Down’s syndrome was aborted in England and Wales. 

This contrasts with the situation in the rest of the United Kingdom where disability-selective abortion has been legal since 1967.

The latest available figures show that 90% of children diagnosed with Down’s syndrome before birth are aborted in England and Wales.

We are, therefore, asking people like you to take 30 seconds of your time and add your support to the campaign to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot in Northern Ireland.

If you live in Northern Ireland: 
Ask your MLAs to vote to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot:

If you live outside Northern Ireland: 
Show your support by signing this petition in support of the Bill:

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Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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