Britain’s parliament voted on Tuesday to legalize elective abortion in Northern Ireland if the country’s own local parliament does not reconvene before October 21. While Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, most local matters are decided by the local “devolved” government, which has been suspended for two years due to disagreements between the two major political parties.
Westminster’s vote on Tuesday was on a bill to keep Northern Ireland functioning while the local government is unworkable. In a highly questionable move, legalizing elective abortion was added to the bill in an amendment.
The 1967 Abortion Act legalized abortion in Britain through 28 weeks of pregnancy, but Northern Ireland did not accept the legislation. Currently, abortion is only legal in Northern Ireland if the mother’s life is at risk; however, abortion — the direct and intentional killing of a human being in the womb — is never actually necessary to save the life of the mother.
Northern Ireland has faced mounting international pressure to legalize the killing of preborn children since Ireland voted in a referendum to legalize elective abortion last year. Additionally, a majority of judges on the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom found Northern Ireland’s abortion law incompatible with human rights law, a judgment that ignores the human rights of the preborn child.
We are deeply frustrated and disappointed that a relatively small number of pro-abortion activists who see unrestricted abortion as progress for women seem to be driving the political agenda at Westminster. This is at odds with what most women want and presents a small and sad vision for women and children.
Most people in Northern Ireland do not want Westminster to act to impose potentially far-reaching changes to our abortion legislation and most conservative MPs do not favour undermining devolution in this way.
It is estimated that Northern Ireland’s pro-life laws have saved 100,000 lives.
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