Time Running Out for Unborn Children in Northern Ireland

By Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues

The final countdown for the political parties in Northern Ireland (NI) to re-establish an Executive government and follow legislative procedure to determine any changes to the law on abortion expires in a few days. If no power-sharing Executive is functioning by Monday October 21 the abortion regime passed by MPs in the United Kingdom will be imposed on unborn children in NI allowing their death until the 7th month of pregnancy.

Of the two political parties engaged in the long-standing disagreement, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has successfully called for the National Assembly to return to Stormont in a last-ditch attempt to stop the imposition of abortion on NI.

The petition signed by 31 MLAs resulted in Speaker Robin Newton informing all 90 MLAs [Members of the Legislative Assembly] of the petition and that a special sitting of the Assembly will take place on Monday.

Return of the Northern Ireland Assembly is not enough, however, to stop the violence of abortion from ending lives in NI. The Northern Ireland Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions Act specifically states that positions within the Stormont Executive must be filled on or before October 21, 2019 in order for the new laws passed by the UK Parliament not to take effect.

The other power-sharing political party, Sinn Féin, continues to obstruct formation of the Executive and is the source of a pro-life lobby effort led by Precious Life. The organization is urging protest calls to Sinn Féin representatives against its support for the new abortion law.

Its website states: “With the DUP ready to return to Stormont to form a power-sharing Executive to halt this law, the blame for the introduction of the most extreme abortion law in Europe will lie at Sinn Féin’s door. If it does not agree to reconvene Stormont by this Monday, October 21st, the most cruel and extreme abortion law in Europe will be thrusted upon Northern Ireland against the democratic will of the people here.”

Recent polling demonstrated that 57% of people in Northern Ireland oppose legalizing abortion, including a majority of women. Dawn McAvoy, a spokeswoman for the Both Lives Matter which commissioned the poll, explained that as October 21 approaches, “the public is realising just how bad the law imposed by Westminster is”.

“The majority of people of Northern Ireland do not want these changes, no Northern Ireland MP voted in favour of the abortion amendment proposing these changes, and the majority of councils in Northern Ireland have now voted against these changes,” she said.

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