By SPUC—the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children
In a statement to the House of Commons on Monday October 24, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris, pledged that the London government would make sure “appropriate funding is available to enable healthcare professionals to take the necessary steps to ensure that essential training and recruitment of staff can progress, and services can be implemented”.
The statement, issued to coincide with the third anniversary of the repeal of Northern Ireland’s pro-life legislation, follows resistance to the government’s attempt to impose its radical abortion agenda on Northern Ireland.
Regulations dating back to March 2020 include abortion for any reason up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, up to 24 weeks on health grounds (including undefined “mental health” issues) and up to full term on grounds of fetal disability as well as other circumstances.
So far, individual health trusts have provided abortion drugs on an ad-hoc basis. However, opposition within the Stormont Assembly [Parliamentary building] has prevented the Northern Ireland Department of Health from allocating the funding required to meet the government’s plans.
Secretary of State Brandon Lewis had previously issued new regulations giving himself the power to bypass the devolved institutions. He then directed the Minister of Health to provide funding sufficient to perform up to 6,500 abortions annually. But this would have required the Health Minister to act in contravention of the Ministerial Code. The Minister insisted that he was under no obligation to divert resources from existing healthcare services to facilitate abortions.
Westminster [the meeting place for the two houses of Parliament] insists that it remains the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Executive to fund the full implementation of London’s abortion agenda. In his statement, Mr Heaton-Harris said: “It is not right that three years on, women and girls in Northern Ireland are still unable to access the full range of healthcare to which they are lawfully entitled.”
Commenting on Mr Heaton-Harris’s statement, Liam Gibson, SPUC’s policy and legal officer based in Northern Ireland, said: “There are serious questions over the legality of Westminster’s attempts to push through its radical abortion agenda, which it is now doubling down on. We will be raising these questions with the Court of Appeal when it hears SPUC’s challenge to the Secretary of State’s attempted power grab.
“Mr Heaton-Harris says he will be meeting the chief executives of Health and Social Care Trusts in the coming weeks to ensure London’s abortion agenda can be fully implemented. If he is serious about paying for a massive increase in abortions from the existing health budget, then cuts to legitimate healthcare services will be unavoidable. This will add insult to injury. Imposing abortion on Northern Ireland against the will of the people was a shocking abuse of power. To now divert money from the treatment of the sick in order to kill innocent children is unforgivable.”
Mr. Gibson concluded, “Abortion is not healthcare; it is a lethal act of violence directed at an unborn child and violence against children is never acceptable.”
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