Gov says abortion is a devolved issue in Northern Ireland but will force it on the region anyway

Thousands gather in Belfast to March for Their Lives

In response to a petition in opposition to the imposition of abortion on Northern Ireland, the Government in Westminister has conceded that abortion remains “within the competence of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive” but they’re intent on forcing abortion on Northern Ireland anyway.

The Government’s affirmation of the sovereignty of the Northern Ireland Assembly in making decisions on this matter has been greatly undermined by the Parliamentary vote in July to force abortion on the region.

Unless Stormont reconvenes by the 21st October, the legislation will come into effect in Northern Ireland immediately. It will permit abortion up to 28 weeks for any reason, including abortion on the grounds of the sex of the baby. In fact, the new law removes all regulations and safeguards on abortion throughout the first 7 months of pregnancy. In which case, abortions could be performed in almost any setting and on children without the knowledge or consent of their parents.

The Government response to the petition came just a few days before an MP in the House of Commons demanded that the people of Northern Ireland not be consulted in regard to the implementation of new extreme abortion law.

As part of their response to the petition, the Government has said that its “preference therefore remains that any change to law on abortion… is taken forward by a restored Executive and functioning Assembly.”

In a debate earlier this week however, MPs from Northern Ireland pointed out that the Government’s response is a “non-solution”.

Sammy Wilson MP said:

“[The Government] cannot run away and hide behind the statement, “It is up to the parties in Northern Ireland,” as one party that is essential to the setting up of the Administration [Sinn Féin]… have been driving the pro-abortion agenda in Northern Ireland…”

“[The Government] knows that as long as [Sinn Féin] remain in a position where they veto the formation of an Assembly, the solution that [the Government] says is in the hands of the people of Northern Ireland is not a solution at all.”

Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said:

“The Government response to this petition which gathered almost 15,000 signatures, as well as statements in Parliament, shows the low regard Westminster has for the sovereignty of Northern Ireland Assembly in this regard.”

“In fact, from early July when this debate was fast-tracked through Parliament, the will of the people of Northern Ireland has been consistently ignored and disregarded. The majority of women in Northern Ireland (66% in general and 70% of 18-34 year olds) do not want abortion law imposed on the region from Westminster. There are also 100,000 people alive today who would otherwise not be, had the Abortion Act 1967 in the rest of Britain, been extended to Northern Ireland.”

70,000 sign petition calling on UK govt to stop judge forcing women to have abortion against her will

On Friday the 21st May, Justice Lieven ordered that a mother with a learning disability who is 22 weeks pregnant must have an abortion against her will.

Right To Life UK have since started a petition to the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, urging him “to intervene in the case, doing all within [his] power to ensure this woman is not forced to have an abortion.” In  less than 48 hours since it was launched, the petition has gathered over 70,000 signatures.

The woman’s doctors claim that an abortion is in her best interests, despite the fact that the woman herself wants the child, and the woman’s mother has offered to raise the child and firmly opposes abortion. Furthermore, the woman’s own legal team have argued that there is “no proper evidence” for the claim that an abortion is the mothers best interests.

In her decision Justice Lieven said: “I think [the woman] would suffer greater trauma from having a baby removed [from her care],” Lieven said, because “it would at that stage be a real baby.”

Justice Nathalie Lieven has long been a legal advocate in various pro-abortion cases and in a recent pro-assisted suicide case. In 2005 she represented the Family Planning Association arguing that the law should not require parental consent for girls under the age of 16 seeking an abortion and that there is no duty to inform parents.

In 2011, she represented abortion provider and lobby group the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS). Lieven advocated for women to be able to take the second abortion pill in a chemical abortion outside of a clinical setting.

In 2018, Justice Lieven argued on behalf of the Nothern Ireland Human Rights Commission that the abortion law in Northern Ireland discriminates against women and girls and said it was in breach of Article 3 of the ECHR, which forbids torture and “inhuman or degrading” treatment or punishment.

Finally, in a 2018 Supreme Court legal challenge, Ms Lieven argued on behalf of Noel Conway, a 68 year old man with motor neurone disease, that it should be lawful for him to engage in a medically assisted suicide.

At the time of this court case, which ultimately failed, campaigners against assisted suicide pointed out that it “opens the door to risks and dangers driven by attitudes about disabled people and their lives. It’s worth noting that no disability charity or organisation is campaigning for a change in the law around assisted dying. We want support to live, not to die.”

Clare McCarthy of Right To Life UK said:

“Justice Lieven’s background as a lawyer in numerous abortion advocacy cases calls into question her fitness to adjudicate in this case. The fact that this case relates directly to abortion and the fact that the Judge has a strong background of pro-abortion advocacy, undermines the impartiality of the judiciary.”

“This important trial should not be presided over by a Judge with such a strong pro-abortion bias.”