Westminster votes to force abortion on NI. 13 weeks left for people of Northern Ireland to stop introduction of extreme abortion regime

MPs have voted 328 – 65 to force more extreme abortion laws on Northern Ireland than the rest of the UK.

The vote took place yesterday (18/07) in the final stages of Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill. MPs cast a single vote for a group of amendments to the Northern Ireland Bill which included a radical abortion amendment that was added in the House of Lords. The vote against was lower than the vote on the Creasy amendment last week, this is likely because the group of amendments included a number of other issues.

This focus now moves to Northern Ireland where, should the Executive in Stormont reform before October 21st, it is possible that all amendments to the Northern Ireland Bill could be rejected.

Nigel Dodds said: “[This amendment] makes abortion legal for absolutely any reason, including gender and disability, until a legal presumption of 28 weeks.”

This assessment is based on the fact that the amendment seeks to remove sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act (1861), which protects unborn life. In which case, the only legal protection for unborn children left would be the Criminal Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 1945 which only applies from 28-weeks gestation. This, would make abortion readily available for any reason – including discriminatory abortions based on gender and disability – up until 28 weeks.

This would make the abortion law in Northern Ireland more extreme than in the rest of the UK where abortion is available until 24 weeks and, as an important safeguard, must be signed off by two doctors. No such requirement would exist if this abortion amendment passes in Northern Ireland.

The amendments have been heavily criticised across both Houses of Parliament for being out of scope of the Bill, which was supposed to be concerned with extending the period for the formation of an Executive in Northern Ireland.

During the debate Ian Paisley MP said the Bill has been “hijacked” by these amendments, adding that it was “an outrage to common decency in Northern Ireland.”

A number of other MPs and Conservative MP Fiona Bruce, criticised the fact that, due to the fast-tracking of this Bill – it proceeded through both Houses of Parliament in only two weeks – there was a lack of public and parliamentary scrutiny, as well as little substantive discussion on abortion itself.

Bruce pointed out that 100,000 people are alive today because Northern Ireland did not adopt the 1967 Abortion Act – a figure backed up by the Advertising Standards Association – and that in just four days, over 19,000 people residents of Northern Ireland signed a letter objecting to the imposition of abortion on the region in this manner.

“If we read that across to the British mainland, that is the equivalent of 500,000 signing a petition in a matter of four days,”  Paisley added

Paisley, along with a number of other MPs, criticised the manner in which the abortion amendment was forced onto this Bill saying it was undemocratic, an attack on devolution and lacking proper scrutiny.

Fiona Bruce MP added:

“The way in which the issue of abortion and, indeed, the Bill has been handled has been, I believe, unconstitutional, undemocratic, legally incoherent and utterly disrespectful to the people of Northern Ireland, yet the Government are pressing on today with just a derisory one hour’s debate. That is despite the fact that abortion is a devolved policy area and a hugely controversial issue, and despite the shamefully limited scrutiny time we have already had.”

Deputy leader of the DUP Nigel Dodds, echoed concerns regarding devolution saying:

“Either we have direct rule and legislate on all those areas, or we respect devolution—we cannot have it both ways…”

Clare McCarthy from Right To Life UK said:

“The people of Northern Ireland have thirteen weeks to stop the introduction of one of the worlds most extreme abortion regimes to the province.

“Many thousands of people in Northern Ireland are deeply angered and distressed by this action by the Westminster Parliament. The manner in which MPs from Westminster have attempted to impose abortion on a people that do not want it, and who they do not represent, is grossly disrespectful and unconstitutional. 

“This horrific abortion law can be stopped. It is up to the people of Northern Ireland to ensure that Stormont reconvenes in order to protect the thousands of lives that would otherwise be lost if this extreme abortion law came into effect.

House of Lords votes to force abortion on Northern Ireland

The House of Lords has voted to undermine the sovereignty of Northern Ireland and force abortion on the region later this year.

In a vote last night (17/07), members of the House of Lords voted 182 – 37 in favour of Baroness Barker’s amendment to repeal sections 58 and 59 of the Offence Against the Person Act (1861) (OAPA) for Northern Ireland, which would likely make abortion available up until 28 weeks gestation.

This comes just less than two weeks after an abortion amendment added to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill was passed in the House of Commons. Since then, the Bill has been fast-tracked through both Houses of Parliament and set to come a final time before the House of Commons today.

There was some debate about the effects of repealing these sections of OAPA, and it remains unclear whether abortion will be available until 24 or 28 weeks in Northern Ireland.

Baroness O’Loan pointed out that due to the Infant Life Preservation Act (1929), which is not affected by this amendment, abortion would be made available up to 28 weeks.

There is a possibility that the Northern Ireland Assembly will reject these changes imposed on it by Westminster, but the Assembly has not sat since 2017.

Clare McCarthy from Right To Life UK said:

“The people of Northern Ireland have thirteen weeks to stop the introduction of one of the worlds most extreme abortion regimes to the province.

“Many thousands of people in Northern Ireland are deeply angered and distressed by this action by the Westminster Parliament. The manner in which MPs from Westminster have attempted to impose abortion on a people that do not want it, and who they do not represent, is grossly disrespectful and unconstitutional. 

“This horrific abortion law can be stopped. It is up to the people of Northern Ireland to ensure that Stormont reconvenes in order to protect the thousands of lives that would otherwise be lost if this extreme abortion law came into effect. 

Over just a couple of days, 19,000 people from Northern Ireland signed a letter that was delivered to Theresa May yesterday, asking her to intervene and not to allow abortion to be forced on Northern Ireland. It is the voices of those 19,000 Northern Irish people who need to be listened to now, by their own politicians, and in their own Government in Northern Ireland.  

It’s those 19,000 people, organisations and wider Northern Irish society that now need to come together as soon as possible to build a movement to ensure that Stormont is reconvened.”

Scottish MP who opposed NI abortion amendment receives hundreds of abusive messages and fears deselection

An MP for the Scottish National Party, Lisa Cameron, is concerned she will be deselected by her party after voting against an amendment which would force abortion on Northern Ireland.

The abortion amendment was attached to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill and 332 MPs voted in favour of undermining the sovereignty of Northern Ireland, by usurping its devolved powers to impose abortion law from Westminster.

Scotland has its own devolved powers so the SNP typically make a point of abstaining on matters which relate to the devolved powers of other regions in the UK.

However, in an unusual move, the party abandoned its own principles and allowed a vote for its members on these amendments. Now, SNP MPs who voted in favour of Northern Ireland retaining its devolved abortion powers, are concerned they will lose their position in the party.

Lisa Cameron MP said her office had received more than 900 messages, including “abuse” and “cyberbullying” after she voted against the amendment.

She said she had informed the first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, but had not yet received any response from the SNP leader.

Dr Cameron and her party colleague, Peter Grant, both voted against undermining devolution and forcing abortion on Northern Ireland. 

While the matter was a free vote, for individuals to decide how to vote in line with their own conscience, Nicola Sturgeon made clear that she supported abortion.

Dr Cameron fears she will be stopped from standing again for the seat she first won in 2015.

Cameron said: “It was a free vote, a conscience vote. I didn’t rebel or vote against the party whip. And yet now it’s virtually certain that abusive party activists will make sure I’m deselected and lose the job I love.”

The MP added: “The attacks on me have been nothing less than vitriolic. One individual threatened to come over and ‘abort me’.”

“But I am sad to say that I have as yet received no response. I hope I will receive support from the party hierarchy soon. I’m getting all this abuse but no one in the party will call out the abusers. In a few short days, my life has been turned on its head and it looks like I will be ousted. The situation is very serious.”

She has also written to SNP MP Patrick Grady, who is the party’s chief whip at Westminster, who confirmed to her “a free vote was in place in order that members could vote with their conscience, and that the reason conscience votes exist is for areas where there can’t be a defined party policy”.

Northern Ireland continues to have strong legal protections for unborn babies and 100,00 people are now alive in the region because the 1967 Abortion Act does not apply there.

Clare McCarthy from Right To Life UK said:

“It is disgraceful that this MP should receive such abuse for voting in favour of keeping normal democratic processes in Northern Ireland and respecting devolution.”

“If she is deselected from the SNP, it not only shows how far the party has completely bought into the abortion ideology, but also raises questions about what exactly the point of a free vote is. A vote is hardly ‘free’ if voting the ‘wrong’ way gets you kicked out of the party.”

Abortion amendment added to government Bill could introduce abortion until 28 weeks in Northern Ireland

A last-minute amendment, added to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill, which would see abortion being forced on Northern Ireland up to 28 weeks gestation, is being debated today (17/07).

Baroness Barker has brought forward a series of amendments to this Bill, which, if passed, will implement an extreme abortion law in Northern Irelandm making abortion available up to 28 weeks. This is more extreme than the law in the rest of the UK which has legal abortion up until 24 weeks and the Republic of Ireland which allows abortion up until 12 weeks gestation.

In an on-going saga in the Houses of Parliament, a Bill designed to extend the period for the formation of an Executive, has been hijacked by pro-abortion politicians to force abortion on Northern Ireland.

The original amendments, brought forward by pro-abortion MP Stella Creasy and widely thought to be outside the scope of the Bill, were only introduced and made known less than  an hour before they were debated.

In spite of the fact that abortion remains a devolved issue in Northern Ireland, and the fact that every single MP representing Northern Ireland in Westminster voted against this amendment, 332 MPs in Westminister – who don’t represent Northern Ireland – voted to force abortion on Northern Ireland.

However, for technical legislative reasons, Creasy’s amendment to the Bill would have been unable to function as intended and therefore, would not have been able to introduce abortion into Northern Ireland.

Now pro-abortion campaigner Baroness Elizabeth Barker and colleagues have brought forward a series of amendments to the Northern Ireland Bill in the Lords which would make Stella Creasy’s abortion amendments from the Commons far worse.

Not only would it force abortion on Northern Ireland, it would not allow the Northern Ireland Assembly to have any say on the matter.

Baroness Barker’s amendments propose to remove sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act (1861). This would remove legal protections for the unborn child in Northern Ireland, and abortion would be legal up until 28 weeks under the Infant Life Preservation Act/Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Act (1929).

Right To Life UK have set up a function so that you can email a member of the Lords, urging them to vote against these amendments

Clare McCarthy from Right To Life UK said:

“If you can, it is vitally important that you email a member of the House of Lords. If this amendment is not defeated, abortion legislation could be imposed on a region which does not want it. Lives are at stake.”

“There are 100,000 people alive today because Northern Ireland rejected the 1967 Abortion Act, but the Houses of Parliament in Westminster apparently do not care about that at all.”