House of Lords votes to force abortion on Northern Ireland

The House of Lords has voted to undermine the sovereignty of Northern Ireland and force abortion on the region later this year.

In a vote last night (17/07), members of the House of Lords voted 182 – 37 in favour of Baroness Barker’s amendment to repeal sections 58 and 59 of the Offence Against the Person Act (1861) (OAPA) for Northern Ireland, which would likely make abortion available up until 28 weeks gestation.

This comes just less than two weeks after an abortion amendment added to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill was passed in the House of Commons. Since then, the Bill has been fast-tracked through both Houses of Parliament and set to come a final time before the House of Commons today.

There was some debate about the effects of repealing these sections of OAPA, and it remains unclear whether abortion will be available until 24 or 28 weeks in Northern Ireland.

Baroness O’Loan pointed out that due to the Infant Life Preservation Act (1929), which is not affected by this amendment, abortion would be made available up to 28 weeks.

There is a possibility that the Northern Ireland Assembly will reject these changes imposed on it by Westminster, but the Assembly has not sat since 2017.

Clare McCarthy from Right To Life UK said:

“The people of Northern Ireland have thirteen weeks to stop the introduction of one of the worlds most extreme abortion regimes to the province.

“Many thousands of people in Northern Ireland are deeply angered and distressed by this action by the Westminster Parliament. The manner in which MPs from Westminster have attempted to impose abortion on a people that do not want it, and who they do not represent, is grossly disrespectful and unconstitutional. 

“This horrific abortion law can be stopped. It is up to the people of Northern Ireland to ensure that Stormont reconvenes in order to protect the thousands of lives that would otherwise be lost if this extreme abortion law came into effect. 

Over just a couple of days, 19,000 people from Northern Ireland signed a letter that was delivered to Theresa May yesterday, asking her to intervene and not to allow abortion to be forced on Northern Ireland. It is the voices of those 19,000 Northern Irish people who need to be listened to now, by their own politicians, and in their own Government in Northern Ireland.  

It’s those 19,000 people, organisations and wider Northern Irish society that now need to come together as soon as possible to build a movement to ensure that Stormont is reconvened.”