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New DUP leader warns UK Govt. against imposing more abortion on Northern Ireland

DUP Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has warned that a UK Government intervention on abortion laws in Northern Ireland will damage the credibility of powersharing. 

His comments came ahead of an anticipated announcement from the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, this week on the rollout of services in the region.

Individual health trusts are now offering abortion services, but Northern Ireland’s Department of Health has not centrally commissioned services due to an ongoing impasse at Stormont.

Health Minister Robin Swann, of the Ulster Unionist Party, has affirmed that he is unable to centrally commission services without the approval of the five-party coalition in the Northern Irish Assembly, which would require the two largest parties – the DUP and Sinn Féin – to agree to discuss the issue.

In March, the Government intervened to grant the Northern Ireland Secretary sweeping new powers to impose expanded abortion access on Northern Ireland.

While Mr Lewis is yet to act on these new powers, he is expected to outline his future plans before Parliament goes into summer recess at the end of this week.

In an interview with BBC Radio Ulster, Sir Jeffrey expressed his view that the Northern Ireland Executive, and not the Government in Westminster, should decide on what is an officially devolved issue.

He also expressed support for an Executive sub-committee to examine the issues around the commissioning of services.

He said: “I think that the Secretary of State in those circumstances should enable or allow the Executive to get on with the work that it has been elected to do and to consider these most sensitive of issues”.

He went on: “I just don’t think that it helps devolution and the credibility of our political institutions when the Westminster Government is constantly going over our heads and imposing things that are properly a matter for our local electoral representatives to take decisions on”.

“The Executive is supposed to operate on a consensus basis and therefore, when it comes to even the most sensitive of issues, there’s a need to try and get consensus”, he said.

“It’s not right that some impose their views on others”.

Proposals to introduce commissioning of abortion services and ‘DIY’ home abortion to Northern Ireland

In May, the Northern Ireland Health Minister, Robin Swann, drew criticism after the BBC reported that he had brought forward a proposal to the Northern Ireland Executive that would have introduced ‘DIY’ home abortion to Northern Ireland, whereby a woman performs her own medical abortion at home without in-person medical supervision. 

Mr Swann is also a self-proclaimed “pro-life” politician.

As recently as 2018 he said: “I am pro-life and I am on record as such. I am reassured that our party stance on abortion, as being a matter of conscience, is the right one”.

The full commissioning of abortion services in Northern Ireland would include abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities, de facto abortion on demand to 24 weeks and allowing sex-selective abortions on demand through to 12 weeks.

How Northern Ireland’s discriminatory abortion law came about

In 2019, in the absence of a functioning Northern Ireland Assembly, politicians in Westminster voted to impose a new abortion regime on the province, despite all of the Northern Ireland MPs who were present voting against the proposals.

Despite the global coronavirus crisis and the Northern Ireland Assembly returning on 11 January 2020, the Conservative Government announced that they would proceed with imposing an extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland on 31 March 2020.

The House of Lords and the House of Commons gave their final approval of the Government’s decision to impose an extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland earlier this year. Many MPs and Peers, including those with a ‘pro-choice’ voting record, spoke out against the unfair imposition of abortion services in Northern Ireland, given that the issue is a devolved one.

This was despite a reconvened Northern Ireland Assembly passing a motion opposing the regulations. Additionally, across the two votes held, 75 of Northern Ireland’s 90 MLAs voted against the provisions in the regulations allowing discriminatory disability abortion up to birth.

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson, said: “We welcome this statement from the DUP’s new leader, and sincerely hope that it sets the tone for the Party’s approach to Westminster’s looming threats to impose abortion services on the region”.

“Being a devolved issue, it is vital that Westminster takes into account the wishes of Northern Irish voters and their representatives in Stormont who have consistently demonstrated their opposition to the imposition of an extreme abortion regime on the region”.

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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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