To find out more about the Both Lives Matter campaign, visit www.bothlivesmatter.org

A poll from ComRes released at a parliamentary event yesterday revealed that the majority of women in Northern Ireland believe that Westminster should not impose abortion laws on Northern Ireland.

The polling revealed that 64% of the population in Northern Ireland agree that changing the law on this issue should be a decision for the people of Northern Ireland and their elected representatives. The polling also showed a strong majority of women reject interference from Westminster on this sensitive issue with 66% agreeing that this was a decision for Northern Ireland. The strongest support among age groups surveyed came from the youngest age group, 18-34 year olds, with 70% agreeing that they did not want abortion law imposed on Northern Ireland from Westminster.

The polling was released at a special parliamentary event in Westminster today, where MPs heard from women from Northern Ireland who spoke in favour of respecting devolution and against Westminster imposing abortion laws on the region.

This event was held ahead of a Ten Minute Rule Bill being brought before Parliament on Wednesday 23rd of October which is seeking to change the law on abortion in Northern Ireland from Westminster. The Bill also seeks to change abortion legislation in England and Wales by removing almost all the legal safeguards provided by the Abortion Act.

Polling released by Both Lives Matter earlier this year also showed a huge majority – 72% – of Conservative MPs are against devolution being undermined by imposing abortion laws on Northern Ireland.

A spokesperson for Both Lives Matter, Dawn McAvoy said:

“This move by Johnson and her peers is an unacceptable and irresponsible attempt to override devolution in Northern Ireland and to impose abortion laws on the Northern Irish people. This polling clearly shows that this is not what the people of Northern Ireland, and in particular women, want.

“100,000 people in Northern Ireland are alive today because Northern Ireland did not accept the same abortion law that was introduced into Britain in 1967. We urge British MPs to respect the people of Northern Ireland and our elected representatives. We want to encourage MPs to respect devolution in Northern Ireland by voting against Diana Johnson MP’s Ten Minute Rule Bill on the 23rd October.

A spokesperson for Life NI, Marion Woods said:

“If what is proposed under Diana Johnson MP’s Ten Minute Rule Bill was to actually happen, it would have dramatic consequences for Northern Ireland. This polling represents the majority voice of the Northern Irish people and is a reminder to the government in Westminster that abortion remains a devolved issue in Northern Ireland and laws and policy should be decided by a devolved government.

“We are proud that there are so many people alive in Northern Ireland today because we have a law that respects the rights of both women and the unborn child. We call upon the Government to stand with women and implement more effective pathways of care and support for women and their unborn children in crisis pregnancies rather than pouring more money in abortion.

Fiona Bruce MP, said:

“The Johnson Bill is seeking to undermine devolution and impose change to abortion law from Northern Ireland. This is bad for devolution everywhere and contrary to Government policy.

“Moreso, this bill is out of touch with the will of the Northern Irish people, and in particular women. We have heard from the women here today that a strong majority of Northern Irish women reject interference from Westminster and believe that this is a decision for Northern Ireland.

“I urge my fellow MPs to listen to the women from Northern Ireland who have come to Parliament today and vote against Diana Johnson’s radical Ten Minute Rule Bill next Tuesday, the 23rd October.

ENDS

  • For additional quotes and media interviews contact: Dawn McAvoy (07976 414817) or Clare McCarthy on (078 336 61532).
  • ComRes interviewed 1,013 Northern Irish adults online between 8th and 15th October 2018. Data was weighted to be representative of all Northern Irish adults. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
  • High-resolution photos from the event and previous Both Lives Matter events that can be used for press use are available here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmox9nDs
  • Both Lives Matter is a Northern Ireland based group of individuals and organisations who are pro-life and pro-women. Their website is found here: https://bothlivesmatter.org/
  • Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley stated in the Houses of Parliament recently (September 5, 2018) that:
    • “Abortion is a devolved matter in Northern Ireland and this means it is only right that questions of laws and policy on abortion, including the legality of any medicines, are decided by a devolved government.”
  • Deputy chair of the Conservative party James Cleverly has spoken out about abortion and devolution:
    • “You can’t claim to respect NI devolution but then demand that it be ignored because an issue is ‘important’,” he said. “The sensitivity about saying ‘the Republic of Ireland have done it so Northern Ireland should do it too’ cannot be overstated either.”
  • Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservative Party has also warned against imposing abortion laws on Northern Ireland:
    • “If I was a politician in Northern Ireland, I would absolutely 100% vote to change the law. But as someone who operates in a devolved administration, I know how angry I would be if the House of Commons legislated on a domestic Scottish issue over the head of Holyrood”.
  • In a House of Commons debate (June 5, 2018) SNP MP Deirdre Brock MP said:
    • “Likewise, the issue of abortion in Northern Ireland is a devolved matter and is an issue for the people of the Northern Ireland and the people they elect to the Assembly. It is a matter devolved and, frankly, it matters not a jot whether the decisions made at Stormont, when it is sitting, are agreeable to Members sitting here. That is the point of devolution, a point that some Members of this place have been spectacularly slow to appreciate at times. The decisions of devolved Administrations are taken for reasons that people in those devolved nations understand from their point of view, and they are taken using evidence that the people, politicians and policymakers of those devolved nations consider important.”
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