Northern Ireland MLAs have called for an opportunity to introduce new legislation to the Northern Ireland Assembly to repeal the new extreme abortion regime, which came into force on Tuesday.
The new regime allows abortion up to the point of birth for all disabilities, including cleft lip, club foot and Down’s syndrome.
The new legislation was drafted by the UK Government’s Northern Ireland Office (NIO) after the UK Parliament voted last year to impose abortion on the province in the absence of a devolved government at Stormont, which has since been re-established.
Speaking at Stormont on Tuesday, DUP MLA Paul Givan noted that the NIO has ignored the majority of people in Northern Ireland and over 21,000 who responded to its consultation on the issue.
He said: “Of those who responded to the consultation, 79% were opposed to any change in the law on abortion in Northern Ireland. The British Government, once again, rode roughshod over the will of the people in this country.”
“The abortion industry must be delighted that, in Northern Ireland, there are the most extreme, radical abortion laws anywhere in Europe. It is a travesty that it has been allowed to happen…
“We will seek legislative change so that we have a regime in Northern Ireland that reflects what I believe will be the will of the people on this issue: defending both lives, that of the mother and of the preborn,” he added.
Paul Frew echoed his fellow DUP MLA’s concerns over the people of Northern Ireland being ignored.
He said: “In one fell swoop, the British Government, and by extension the Northern Ireland Office, have made a mockery of consultation, with 79% of the people who responded, including myself, being ignored; a mockery of legislation and how it should be produced, with time taken to go through each clause to scrutinise it and be accountable for it; a mockery of our healthcare system; and a mockery of how we help and assist the most vulnerable in our society.
“The most vulnerable people in our society are people yet unborn but who have a heart that beats and a body that grows. We are failing all those people. I say this to the NIO: what you have done here in imposing these guidelines and legislation on the people of Northern Ireland is shameful when you know fine well what the people think.”
TUV MLA Jim Allister said: “from today, what should be the safest place for an unborn, namely, its mother’s womb, can become, on a whim, one of the most dangerous places”.
“I urge the Assembly to find time to reverse this outrageous, obnoxious situation and to find a voice and to give a voice to the unborn,” he added.
However, speaker Alex Maskey said scheduling was a matter for the business committee.
Jonathan Buckley highlighted that because of Northern Ireland’s previous pro-life policies the province could celebrate the contributions and lives of 100,000 people.
He said: “It is an absolute shame on the British Government and a shame on the NIO that, in the midst of such uncertain times and such crisis that we are in, these regulations and legislation can come into effect.”
“I rise as someone who is unashamedly pro-life. I value life from beginning to end, but it seems that while we debate COVID-19 in this place and across this country, many have risen and spoken with great emotion and sincerity about the lives that will be lost as a result of this cursed plague, COVID-19, but, yet, can turn a blind eye while regulations come into place that end the life of the unborn.”
Independent MLA Trevor Lunn, who is broadly ‘pro-choice’, told News Letter the new extreme abortion rules which allow for disability-selective abortions up to birth are ‘grotesque’, ‘immoral’ and ‘not humane’.
The former Alliance MLA said: “Our whole thrust was fatal foetal abnormalities – where there’s no hope of life outside the womb. So to see this line inserted now in the bill was quite a surprise to me.
“It refers to I think ‘serious foetal impairment’ being a justification for abortion right up ‘til full term… There is no reason for that. If a child has an expectation of life, whether it has an impairment or otherwise, as far as I’m concerned there’s no justification for the abortion.”
“It’s open-ended. It’s not defined. Down’s Syndrome is the obvious one. But there’s other impairments that people suffer from which you’re certainly not going to die from.”
“I just find the whole thing grotesque… It’s not humane.”
Abortion activists are now targeting Northern Ireland’s Department of Health in a bid to introduce ‘DIY’ abortions to the province.