Thank you to everyone who wrote to a peer ahead of the debate in the Lords on Tuesday evening.
The debate went well into the evening on Tuesday. The amendment brought forward by Lord Adonis was debated during Committee Stage at around 10:30pm. This amendment would have severely worsened the impact in Northern Ireland of the Stella Creasy amendment that was introduced in the Commons.
THE GOOD NEWS
A number of peers gave excellent speeches in opposition to the amendment and at the end of the debate, Lord Adonis announced that he would withdraw his amendment and it would not be voted on!
One of the stand-out speeches from the evening was from Lord Shinkwin, who was born with brittle bone syndrome. He gave a courageous speech outlining the big impact that disability selective abortion would have on Northern Ireland if Stella Creasy and colleagues had their way and a change to the law was made from Westminster. This change would introduce abortion for disability right through to 28-weeks gestation. Currently, abortion for disability is illegal in Northern Ireland. You can see a video of Lord Shinkwin’s full speech by clicking here, it is well worth sharing with friends and family.
Thank you again for your work with emailing peers this week, we are obviously very pleased that this amendment was not successful.
THE BAD NEWS
Unfortunately, Stella Creasy’s amendment to the Bill has stayed. Although this amendment does not change abortion law, it will mean that the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland will have to provide guidance to civil servants. The Minister will also be required to produce quarterly reports to Parliament on the supposed ‘incompatibility’ between human rights law and law on abortion in Northern Ireland.
This puts more pressure on the Government in Westminster to intervene and change abortion law in Northern Ireland.
FIND OUR HOW YOUR MP VOTED ON THE JOHNSON BILL
Today we have launched a useful little function on our website that will allow you to see how your MP voted on Diana Johnson’s Ten Minute Rule Bill last week. You can access this by clicking the button below.