Abortion amendments brought forward in attempt to hijack Northern Ireland bill

A Government Bill is being hijacked by abortion lobbyists to attempt to introduce extreme abortion legislation to Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill, which has been brought forward to delay elections in Stormont while power-sharing talks continue, is likely to have radical abortion amendments added in an effort to undermine devolution and force abortion on Northern Ireland.

Abortion in Northern Ireland is only available in limited circumstances and as such there are around 100,000 people alive today who would otherwise not be, had the Abortion Act 1967 in the rest of Britain, been extended to that region.

Proposed changes to the abortion law in Northern Ireland were debated as recently as 2016 with 59 to 40 voting against any change. Should the abortion amendments to the Northern Ireland Bill be accepted in Westminster, the decisions on abortion laws in Northern Ireland would be taken out of hands of the people of Northern Ireland. 

In England and Wales, two doctors are required to approve a request for an abortion. This is an important safeguard which attempts to ensure that no woman is coerced into having an abortion. If abortion were to be imposed on Northern Ireland via an amendment, there would be no such requirement.

Furthermore, leaving aside the issue of whether or not an abortion amendment goes beyond the scope of the Bill, MPs have argued that such serious social change – as an amendment of this kind would promote – deserves full consideration and appropriate debate.

In 2018, the Republic of Ireland held a referendum on whether or not to change its abortion law, and in England and Wales, debates surrounding the abortion law have run late into the night on more than one occasion. The Bill in Northern Ireland however, is being rushed through all of the Commons stages in just two days allowing no time for substantive debate.

Right To Life UK has created a function to allow the public to quickly and easily email their MP about these abortion amendments to prevent them from coming into effect.

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

“This is evidently an attempt to subvert the normal democratic processes which have continued to be an obstacle to the abortion lobby.”

“Stormont has consistently rejected abortion and polling has shown that the majority of women in Northern Ireland (66% in general and 70% of 18-34 year olds) do not want abortion law imposed on Northern Ireland from Westminster.

“There are approximately 100,000 people alive today in Northern Ireland because the Abortion Act (1967) does not apply to the region.

“People with disabilities will inevitably lose the most if the abortion lobby are successful in undermining devolution. In 2016, 52 children with Down’s syndrome were born in Northern Ireland and in the same year, one child from Northern Ireland with Down’s syndrome was aborted in England and Wales in the same year.”

“It’s really important that as many people as possible contact their MP to urge to speak against any amendment which might force abortion on Northern Ireland.”

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