Boris Johnson: Abortion should not be imposed on Northern Ireland

Conservative Party leadership contender and possible future Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has stated that the question of abortion law in Northern Ireland “is for the people of Northern Ireland and their politicians”.

In the Conservative Belfast Leadership Hustings on Tuesday 2nd July, Mr Johnson made clear his support for abortion remaining a devolved issue in Northern Ireland and recognised that it was not right for Westminster to impose abortion on the region.

He said: “I think that is pre-eminently a matter for the people of Northern Ireland, and that is why…I hope that the Government in Northern Ireland can be resumed as soon as possible so that this issue can be decided in the forum where it properly belongs. In other words, at Stormont.”

He added “This is for the people of Northern Ireland and their politicians.”

Both remaining Conservative Party leadership candidates, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, have now stated their support that Westminster should not impose abortion on Northern Ireland, and that it should remain a devolved issue.

This position reflects the sentiment among MPs in the Conservative Party and the public in Northern Ireland on the issue with  72% of Conservative MPs and the majority of women in Northern Ireland being in favour of continued devolution of abortion law in the region.

Dawn McAvoy co-founder of the Both Lives Matters campaign, who support both women and unborn children in Northern Ireland, commented, 

“Our distinctive law in Northern Ireland strikes a difficult and delicate balance which means that over 100,000 people are alive in Northern Ireland today because politicians here did not implement the 1967 Abortion Act.” 

“For the last few years there has been a strong push from a small number of abortion advocates to change the law to allow more abortion in Northern Ireland. They are clearly out of step. We welcome today’s news and will continue to pursue the very simple and human vision that both lives matter alongside our efforts to secure even more valuable services which allow both lives to flourish in a pregnancy crisis. .”

4 out of 5 Tory leadership hopefuls support devolution and not imposing abortion on Northern Ireland

None of the five candidates who are standing to be the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom have said they are in favour of directly undermining devolution and forcing abortion on the people of Northern Ireland.

There are strong pro-life protections in Northern Ireland where abortion remains a devolved issue. This means that the 1967 Abortion Act does not apply and there are 100,000 people alive today because of this. None of the leadership candidates have given any indication that they are in favour of directly undermining devolution in this area.

This is a position supported by 72% of Conservative MPs and the majority of women in Northern Ireland.

The Conservative leadership hopefuls were asked whether they would impose abortion on Northern Ireland from Westminster. Here’s what each candidate said:

Boris Johnson – did not respond to a request for comment.

Rory Stewart –  A spokesperson said the “fundamental point is that Rory is passionately committed to women’s right to choose” but he “also believes that ideally devolved issues should be settled by devolved administrations.”

Michael Gove – a campaign source said: Michael’s preference is that we should have the same laws on such issues across the whole of the UK, but under the devolution settlement, changes in laws affecting Northern Ireland should be a matter for the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive.”

Sajid Javid – A source close to the minister said: “Saj recognises this is a devolved matter and we have to respect that.”

Jeremy Hunt – a spokesperson said:“This is a devolved issue and is yet another reason why we must get Stormont up and running again. Jeremy would support any changes locally accountable politicians wished to implement.”

Jeremy Hunt has made clear however that he would be supportive of a law to reduce the abortion limit from 24 weeks to 12 weeks.

Clare McCarthy of Right To Life UK said: “It is very good news that almost all of the Tory leadership hopefuls intend to respect devolution and would not impose abortion on Northern Ireland from Westminster.”

“Abortion is a devolved issue and it is not for Westminster to force extreme abortion laws onto the region. The most recent vote on this in 2016, showed that a clear majority of the Northern Ireland Assembly, upheld the law on abortion as it currently stands.

“There are 100,000 people alive in Northern Ireland today because Northern Ireland did not adopt Britain’s abortion law when it was introduced. Laws do make a difference.”

To see a full record of how all the leadership hopefuls have voted on abortion click here.

(Photo credit Adobe Stock:Pineapples)

Lord Alton: Taking the life of a child in the womb is not the answer – Not in Alabama or New York, not in Northern Ireland or London

Whilst the Brexit drama continues to unfold, there is a fight underway in the US which, arguably, says far more about a nation and its people than Britain leaving the EU: It is the fight over what protections, if any, a baby in the womb should have in law.

In the wake of the State of Alabama’s decision to pass The Alabama Human Life Protection Act, the abortion issue has hit the headlines once more. The bien pensant were particularly horrified by this piece of legislation – which grants full legal protection to unborn children and effectively outlaws abortion – leading to panic and hysteria in large sections of social media, and a number of celebrity personalities offering some bizarre, threatening, and macabre condemnations.

Click here to read the full article