UK Votes to Impose Abortion upon Northern Ireland
Monday, August 5, 2019

Both chambers of the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament voted to impose abortion on demand for the first 28 weeks of pregnancy on Northern Ireland through the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Act 2019, Section 9, Abortion etc: implementation of CEDAW recommendations. The Act received Royal Assent and will be implemented beginning March 2020 if the Stormont Parliament is not functioning by October 21, 2019 so it can decide for itself on any changes to abortion policy.

Currently, the political parties in Northern Ireland have not been able to come to agreement and form a power-sharing government that is provided for under the 1998 “devolution’ agreement with the UK Parliament. Devolution allows the Assembly and Executive Committee to make laws and decisions affecting Northern Ireland. The pro-abortion amendments take advantage of the political stalemate to impose a policy that the Northern Ireland MPs would very likely reject.

The Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Act 2019 calls on Northern Ireland to repeal Sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against The Person Act, effectively legalizing abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy under select situations and allowing abortion on demand for the first 28 weeks (7 months) of pregnancy as well as implement the recommendations issued by the treaty monitoring body for the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) to the 2018 review of the UK’s report under article 8 of the Optional Protocol.

Countries are not obligated to accept the recommendations from CEDAW and other treaty bodies as these entities are increasingly influenced by pro-abortion activists serving as “experts” and by pro-abortion organizations. This is demonstrated by the CEDAW report to the UK which begins with repeating the claims of three pro-abortion organizations—The Family Planning Association, Northern Ireland Women’s European Platform and Alliance for Choice—referenced in footnote #1. It states: On 9 December 2010, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women received information from several organizations (1)…The sources allege that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has committed grave and systematic violations of rights under the Convention owing to the restrictive access to abortion for women and girls in Northern Ireland.

Political leaders in Northern Ireland rejected the vote by the UK Parliament with pro-life DUP leader Arlene Foster saying, “The clause on abortion, which of course is probably the most insidious of all, because I do not believe there’s any support at-all to go to a situation where you would have abortion up to 28 weeks. There is no way that would pass through the assembly in Northern Ireland….So therefore there is a need to deal with that matter and to get a distinctive Northern Irish voice to deal with what the people here want in relation to their abortion laws.”

Baroness O'Loan, a former police ombudsman, co-signed a letter to then PM Theresa May with the Church of Ireland Archbishop Lord Eames that expressed the concerns of many about the pro-abortion amendments. The letter included the following:

"The imposition of this legislation on Northern Ireland in its current form, voted for only by MPs who do not represent constituencies in Northern Ireland, would represent a massive democratic deficit," the letter said.

The manner in which there has been an attempt to change abortion law in Northern Ireland this week treats the people of Northern Ireland with contempt.

It has the capacity to undermine the delicate political calibration between Northern Ireland and Westminster and to cause significant damage to attempts to restore the Northern Ireland Assembly."

Pro-life groups in Northern Ireland and the UK are actively working to raise awareness of the extreme pro-abortion policy that will be imposed if no government is formed and are calling on political parties to come together and form a government by the October 21 deadline.  Right to Life UK has prepared a factsheet,  20 shocking facts about Northern Ireland’s new extreme abortion regime and Precious Life Northern Ireland is initiated a Fight-Back Campaign and is preparing a legal challenge.

Precious Life's Founder and Director, Bernadette Smyth, stated: "We will not stand idly by and see a breach of the devolution settlement…The suggested recommendations in the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) report are very wide ranging and at odds with the democratically expressed wishes of people here and decision making by our local politicians and Judiciary."

She continued, "As recently as February 2016 the Stormont Assembly voted against changing the law here. Our concern is that the CEDAW recommendations shall be unlawful and unnecessary. The Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Act 2019 states that the Regulations should be in place by March 2020. In the meantime, Precious Life will prepare a legal case against the introduction of a radical abortion regime in Northern Ireland."

Mrs. Smyth concluded, "We have a very short window of time to defeat this undemocratic and deadly law. The right to life is granted neither by judges nor politicians, but it is their duty to protect it. Recent court rulings have stated that any change to our legislation in Northern Ireland regarding abortion is a matter for the Stormont Assembly. We are urging the pro-life majority of NI to bombard their MLAs calling for them to ensure the government is reconvened by October 21st to stop the slaughter of our unborn children."

David Steel, the man who spearheaded the 1967 Abortion Act in the UK while supporting the vote to impose abortion on Northern Ireland stated that he believes there are too many abortions and that it is “wrong to use abortion as a contraception.”

Callum Webster Northern Ireland Officer for the Christian Institute responded: “An estimated 100,000 lives have been saved in Northern Ireland precisely because of good laws on abortion. Lord Steel is right to say there are too many abortions. And we know that around 98 per cent of them are carried out for social reasons.”

“It is tragic that MPs from outside Northern Ireland actually cheered the passing of this legislation.”