NI politicians receive ‘highest-level of correspondence’ on a single issue ever from constituents demanding extreme abortion regime is rejected

Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) in Northern Ireland have received an ‘unprecedented’ response from constituents calling on them to form an executive and prevent an extreme abortion regime from being imposed upon the province. 

Staff from MLA offices across Northern Ireland has said that they had been inundated with tens of thousands of emails, letters, postcards and phone calls requesting the restoration of Stormont. 

One staff worker disclosed: “This is the highest level of correspondence I have seen on any single issue,” while another claimed the level of correspondence received was “unprecedented”.  

A number of MLAs confirmed that they had never received as much correspondence on an issue from constituents on another issue ever with one commenting that they had to take on an extra part-time employee to deal with the amount of correspondence they received on the issue. 

A recent poll, weighted to reflect Northern Irish society, revealed that excluding those who were unsure 57% of people oppose the new abortion regime, with fewer than 43% in favour. 

Opposition to the extreme law change formed a majority among every age category, across both men and women. 

Carla Lockhart, a DUP MLA for Upper Bann, has challenged Westminster MPs over their attempt to impose abortion on Northern Ireland. 

She told political blog, Slugger O’Toole: “The Northern Irish public have not been consulted upon around the detail of any amendments that may be tabled and this is not the way to pass legislation on sensitive social issues.

“The irony is that in a recent inquiry by the Women and Equalities Committee at Westminster 88% of submissions said no to Westminster imposing law change on abortion in Northern Ireland.

“Just last year a ComRes poll year showed that two-thirds of women (and 70% of 18-34-year-olds) in Northern Ireland don’t want abortion laws imposed by Westminster.

“Another ComRes poll from last year showed that 72% of Conservative Party MPs did not support the imposition of abortion laws on Northern Ireland from Westminster.”

She added: “Many people see a much more positive vision for women and their unborn children. One where both lives are respected and can flourish together as far as humanly possible.”

In July, Westminster politicians voted to impose abortion on Northern Ireland if the Stormont Assembly has not returned before 22 October. All Northern Ireland MPs who were present voted against it. 

The last time MLAs voted on the issue of abortion, in 2016, they opposed any change to current abortion laws by a wide margin.

Spokesperson for Right to Life UK, Catherine Robinson said: 

“The unprecedented number of emails to MLAs is further evidence that the majority of people of Northern Ireland do not want this extreme abortion law imposed on them. No Northern Ireland MP voted in favour of the abortion amendment proposing these changes, and the majority of councils in Northern Ireland have now voted against these changes. 

“We now have just 2 days for Sinn Féin to form an Executive with the DUP and prevent this horrific abortion regime from becoming law”.

MLAs ready for Stormont return, say pro-life campaigners

A pro-life campaign group believes that there are enough Members of Northern Ireland’s Legislative Assembly on board to force the Assembly to be recalled before an extreme abortion law is imposed upon the province.

Both Lives Matter said that over the last few days it had contacted MLAs asking them to pledge to return to Stormont before October 22.

They announced yesterday that enough MLAs had now backed their call to take advantage of a section of the Northern Ireland Act which states that if at least 30 MLAs ask the Speaker to recall the Assembly, he will summon members.

However, the move is only the first step towards stopping the introduction of an extreme abortion law to Northern Ireland as Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) would still need to form an Executive before the abortion law could be halted. 

The DUP has stated their willingness to form an executive for this reason, but Sinn Féin has given no indication it is willing to do so.

Last year, Sinn Féin delegates voted to in favour of extending abortion access in Northern Ireland. The party also rejected a motion that would allow party members to have a ‘conscience vote’ on abortion. meaning members of the party are now obliged to follow Sinn Féin’s explicitly pro-abortion stance.

Last night, Northern Ireland Minister Robin Walker reminded the House of Commons that unless an Executive is formed by Monday, the Government will proceed with plans to impose an extreme abortion law on the province. 

Mr Walker told MPs: “Whilst every effort is being made to restore an Executive, I must also take steps to ensure the Government is able to meet its obligations should an Executive not be formed in the statutory deadline.”

He added: “The British and Irish Governments both share the view that there remains an opportunity in the coming days to reach an accommodation – indeed the Secretary of State is not here in person to start the debate as he has decided to stay in Northern Ireland to continue engaging with the parties this evening.”

Talks have been scheduled for today and tomorrow.

Last week, the Northern Ireland Office launched its nationwide abortion marketing campaign

Dawn McAvoy co-founder of Both Lives Matter said, “This abortion regime will remove every explicit legal protection from all unborn children up to the point at which they are capable of being born alive or 28 weeks gestation.

“Whatever the outcome this petition will help the public to see who is committed to returning to the Assembly and a functioning devolved government in NI”.

Mothers of children with cleft lip speak out about law change to introduce abortion for the condition in Northern Ireland

Mothers whose children were born with a cleft lip and palate have spoken out in horror that the proposed abortion regime in Northern Ireland will allow babies with the condition to be aborted through to 28-weeks.

Cleft lip and palate is a condition which causes a small or wide gap in the roof of the mouth, upper lip or both. It is usually easily fixed by minor surgery. 

Terri Thomas was angry and shocked when she heard that a proposed change in the law in Northern Ireland would mean that abortions for cleft lip and palate would be available up to 28 weeks in Northern Ireland.

She said: “to read that some people [in Northern Ireland] may now consider a termination simply because of a cleft lip or palate is so upsetting”.

Terri Thomas’ son, Joseph Daniel, was born with a cleft lip.

Terri Louise Thomas said when her son, Joseph Daniel, was diagnosed with the condition she had lots of questions but never considered an abortion.

Following the birth of Joseph, the mother of two said: “to me he was perfect, his lip didn’t bother me in the slightest, I just felt pure love.”

Terri shared that Joseph is now almost two-years-old and has since had surgery on his lip, which has healed quickly and his scar is barely noticeable.

She added that “he is such a happy, clever and inquisitive little boy! He makes me smile every day.”

Joseph Daniel after surgery on his cleft lip.

Another mother, with a similar experience to Terri, has said she was left feeling distraught and heart-broken when she heard that the change in the law would mean that unborn babies could be aborted just because they had a cleft lip and palate.

Lauren Bolt said her daughter, Lily Grace, was only diagnosed with the condition three weeks before she gave birth to her.

However, even though Lauren didn’t know what a cleft lip and palate was, she wasn’t upset or worried about the condition.

The day her daughter, Lily-Grace, was born she said: “I set eyes on the most precious little girl with a unique cleft lip that looked like a love heart.”

Lily-Grace, 2, has also had corrective surgery on her lip. Lauren said “Lily Grace is the happiest, most beautiful little girl ever! She has so much character and I completely forget she was ever born with a cleft lip.”

Lily Grace’s cleft lip is barely noticeable following surgery.

Terri and Lauren both said they received great medical support from medics. The two mothers would encourage pregnant mothers, particularly in Northern Ireland, with children diagnosed with cleft lip and palate to keep their unborn babies and seek that same support.

What will change in Northern Ireland?

In July, in the absence of a functioning Stormont government, Westminster politicians voted to impose abortion on demand, up to 28-weeks, on Northern Ireland if Stormont’s Executive is not restored by 21 October.

If the change in law goes ahead, section 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act will be repealed in Northern Ireland. Abortion will be available, on-demand, up to 28 weeks legalising sex-selective and disability-selective abortion including abortion for Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and palate and club foot.

The proposals which are due to be imposed on Northern Ireland were passed after just 17 minutes of debate in the House of Commons around the final amendment that forced the change on Northern Ireland.

The original amendments, brought forward by pro-abortion MP Stella Creasy and widely thought to be outside the scope of the Bill, were only introduced and made known less than an hour before they were debated.

332 MPs in Westminister voted to force abortion on the province, despite it remaining a devolved issue in Northern Ireland and the fact that every single MP representing Northern Ireland in Westminster voted against the amendment.

Lord Shinkwin, who himself has a disability, heavily criticised the move citing the impact that it will have on people with disabilities.

Speaking in the House of Lords he said: “I am good enough to sit in your Lordships’ House, but this Bill suggests that someone diagnosed before birth with a disability such as mine in Northern Ireland would only be considered good enough for the incinerator.”

“Because that is the brutal message of this Bill: if you are diagnosed with a disability before birth in Northern Ireland, you will not just be worth less than a non-disabled human being; you will be worthless—you would be better off dead. What a dreadful message for this House to send the people of Northern Ireland, without even having consulted them in advance.”

Cleft lip and palate & Down syndrome abortion under-reported

In England and Wales, the number of abortions performed on unborn babies with cleft lip and palate has accelerated in recent years.

Official figures show that the number of terminations for those with the condition has more than tripled, from 4 in 2012 to an all-time high of 15 in 2018.

Since 2011, 75 unborn babies have been aborted because they had a cleft lip and palate.

However, findings from a European register have revealed that abortions for cleft lip and palate can be over ten times more common than what is being reported.

Eurocat, which was set up to register congenital abnormalities across 23 countries, found that 157 unborn babies, with the condition, were aborted in England and Wales between 2006 and 2010. The Department of Health only recorded 14 such abortions.

Joan Morris, national co-ordinator for Eurocat and professor of medical statistics at Queen Mary, University of London, said the group also found the number of babies aborted in 2010 for Down’s Syndrome was double that recorded officially – 886 compared to 482.

She told The Sunday Times: “Babies are aborted for Down’s and they still don’t put that on the abortion form, so if they can’t do it for Down’s, why would they put cleft lip?”

The discovery suggests that the number of unborn babies being aborted because of a perceived disability is significantly higher than what is being reported.

The Department of Health confirmed in a 2014 report that some disability abortions had been wrongly recorded.

Majority in Northern Ireland oppose extreme new abortion laws

The majority of people in Northern Ireland oppose the Government in Westminster weakening protections for unborn babies in the province.

A poll, weighted to reflect Northern Irish society, has revealed that excluding those who were unsure 57% of people oppose the new abortion regime, with fewer than 43% in favour.

In July, in the absence of a functioning Stormont government, Westminster politicians voted to impose abortion on demand, up to 28-weeks, on Northern Ireland if Stormont’s Executive is not restored by 21 October.

Belfast pollsters LucidTalk asked 1,424 people in the Province if they agreed with the UK Government’s actions.

Opposition to the extreme abortion regime formed a majority among every age category, across both men and women.

In the 18 to 24-year-olds category, 59% were against any change in law, compared to just 41% in favour, making them more opposed to the abortion regime than the general population.

Over three-quarters of DUP supporters (82%), over half of SDLP supporters (66%) and over half of UUP supporters (58%) stated their disapproval of the move. 

The study was commission by Both Lives Matter which said “the public is realising just how bad the law imposed by Westminster is”.

Dawn McAvoy, a spokeswoman for the Both Lives Matter, told the Belfast Telegraph that as 21 October approaches, “the public is realising just how bad the law imposed by Westminster is”.

“The majority of people of Northern Ireland do not want these changes, no Northern Ireland MP voted in favour of the abortion amendment proposing these changes, and the majority of councils in Northern Ireland have now voted against these changes,” she said.

“None of the 20,000 babies born every year in Northern Ireland will be protected in law until they are capable of being born alive. After that, we may be left with the most liberal abortion regime in Europe — the details of which are up to one man — the MP for Skipton and Rippon – who also happens to be the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.”