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48:12 – Bill to stop abortion for disabilities including Down’s syndrome passes Second Stage

This evening the Severe Fetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill passed its second stage at the Northern Ireland Assembly by 48 votes to 12.

The Severe Fetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill proposes removing the current grounds in the abortion regulations that were imposed on Northern Ireland by the British Government in 2020, which allow abortion for babies with disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.

The vote followed a long debate that lasted a number of hours during two sessions today. A number of Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) gave impassioned speeches highlighting why they supported the Bill, many of them telling deeply personal stories from people with disabilities and their families who were supporting the Bill from constituencies throughout Northern Ireland.

It was announced during the debate that Sinn Féin would be abstaining from voting for the Bill at Second Stage. All Sinn Féin MLAs accordingly proceeded to abstain from voting for the Bill.

This followed an announcement from Sinn Féin on Sunday that the party would be bringing forward a proposal to the Northern Ireland Executive this week on the commissioning of abortion in Northern Ireland to increase abortion access across the region. Rival nationalist party Aontú has accused Sinn Féin of trying to “ramp up […] the number of abortions in the North of Ireland”.

The Severe Fetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill will now proceed onto Committee Stage.

Strong support from the disability community and beyond

1,608 people with Down’s syndrome and their families signed an open letter to party leaders in Northern Ireland urging them to support the Bill.

On Thursday 11th March, disability rights campaigner, Heidi Crowter, who herself has Down’s syndrome, told the Health Committee of the Northern Ireland Assembly that the current abortion legislation in the region “tells me and other people with Down’s syndrome that we are worth less than those without disabilities”.

Crowter told the Committee: “The law in Great Britain, and now sadly the law in Northern Ireland, tells me and other people with Down’s syndrome that we are worth less than those without disabilities. That is why I want my voice to be heard and the laws to be fairer”.

“My husband also has Down’s Syndrome and I value him and I think society should too. The law makes me feel very sad it is saying that I, and people like me, may as well have not been born”.

Nearly 27,000 people have signed a petition calling on political leaders in Northern Ireland to vote for the Severe Fetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill.

Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “Congratulations to Heidi Crowter and the wider community of people with disabilities who have worked so hard to achieve this outcome this evening”. 

Tonight’s vote is a significant milestone in the journey towards ending abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot in Northern Ireland. It’s also amazing to see the very large majority that voted for this Bill. This reflects the overwhelming support that has been seen from the wider community for this Bill”. 

This vote has sent a very clear message that people with disabilities are equally human and the people of Northern Ireland want the British Government’s disability abortion provision, which directly discriminates against people with disabilities, removed as soon as possible”.

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

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Dear reader,

Thanks to the support of people like you, on Monday 5 July, a major attempt to hijack the UK Government’s flagship Police , Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill with two extreme abortion proposals failed, in a major pro-life victory.

Unfortunately, this major defeat is not the end for our opposition.

The abortion lobby has already been successful at using the Coronavirus crisis to temporarily introduce ‘DIY’ home abortions.

The policy has not only accompanied a large increase in the number of lives ended by abortion but has also been linked to a number of serious incidents where women’s lives have been put at risk while performing their abortion at home.

Our opposition is now eager to see more widespread changes to legislation enacted and we are currently facing major threats on three fronts:

  1. The abortion lobby is further exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to attempt to make dangerous ‘DIY’ home abortions available permanently.
  2. The Northern Ireland Secretary has given himself new powers to force expanded abortion services on Northern Ireland.
  3. The assisted suicide lobby has brought foward a bill to legalise assisted suicide, which was introduced to the House of Lords on 26 May.

If these major threats from our opposition are successful, it would be a disaster. Thousands of lives would be lost. We can’t sit on the sidelines and watch these extreme anti-life changes become a reality.

As you can see, while we have won our most recent battle, we continue to be facing a very large challenge on life issues in the UK over the next couple of months – and we will be facing this across multiple fronts.

We are, therefore, appealing to you to please give as generously as you can. Every donation, no matter how small, will go towards saving the lives of the unborn and many others.

By stopping these threats, YOU can save lives over this coming period.

Will you make a special gift right now to help protect vulnerable lives from these threats?

Q

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Q

Be the first to know…

When you sign up for email updates from us, you will be receiving:

Action alerts on the latest pro-life developments along with tools to help you change hearts and minds

Opportunities to help protect and defend more lives

Where should we send your updates?
By clicking submit, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms below.

Right To Life UK will use the information you provide on this form to keep in touch with you and to provide updates. You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at info@righttolife.org.uk. We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please see our Privacy Policy.

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