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Northern Ireland abortion censorship zone threat

On Tuesday, MLAs will vote on the Abortion Services (Safe Access Zones) Bill at Final Stage.

The Bill would allow the introduction of censorship zones outside abortion clinics and hospitals offering abortions across Northern Ireland. This would effectively criminalise offers of assistance, advice or even praying in these censorship zones.

Many women across the UK have said that if it were not for the practical support that they were offered by pro-life people as they were entering an abortion clinic, they would have gone ahead with the abortion and their babies would not be alive today.

If this Bill passes, offering this much-needed support will be effectively banned in these censorship zones and many lives could be lost.


While this Bill has passed every stage at Stormont, it can now be stopped if 30 MLAs sign a Petition of Concern.

The Petition of Concern is a mechanism whereby 30 MLAs can petition the Assembly requiring a matter to be passed on a cross-community basis rather than by a simple majority. This will then mean that 60 percent of the chamber and 40 percent of both unionist and nationalist representatives will need to vote for the Bill.

If a Petition of Concern successfully reaches 30 signatures, as will happen if only only one MLA joins the 29 MLAs (28 DUP MLAs and TUV MLA Jim Allister) who have voted against the Bill at every stage of its progress, it will then move on to a cross-community vote. At this stage, if the 29 unionist MLAs who have voted against the Bill at every stage, vote against it on this vote as they likely will, it will not have sufficient unionist votes to pass, and will fail.

A large number of MLAs who have voted pro-life throughout their entire political careers have been persuaded to vote for or abstain on votes for this legislation. We just need one of these MLAs to join the 29 other MLAs who are likely to sign a Petition of Concern for the Bill to be effectively stopped. 

This is not a long shot, but we will not be able to get this across the line without your help.


It’s vital that it is clear to MLAs that their constituents oppose this Bill and that they must sign a Petition of Concern.

If you live in Northern Ireland, please click the button below to contact your local MLAs and ask them to sign a Petition of Concern now. It only takes 30 seconds using our easy-to-use tool.

If you don’t live in Northern Ireland, please make contact with friends and family in Northern Ireland and encourage them to contact their local MLAs asking them to sign a Petition of Concern.