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.
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”.