Abortion is a Devolved Issue in Northern Ireland: It Must Remain That Way
Since 42.8% of the Irish electorate (66.4% of the 64.5% who took part) voted to remove the right to life for unborn children by repealing the Eighth Amendment, Northern Ireland is one of the few regions in Europe, and the only region in the UK, where the unborn child is largely protected from abortion.
There is now significant pressure on Northern Ireland and specifically on Prime Minister Theresa May to introduce abortion on demand into the region.
Theresa May has so far remained steadfast and continued to maintain that abortion is a devolved issue to be decided by the Stormont Assembly despite the fact that there have been calls from a number of MPs and other activists to force abortion in Ulster. Fortunately, abortion remains a devolved issue in Northern Ireland. This means that the parliament in Westminster cannot legislate on abortion there and so the Abortion Act 1967 does not apply.
Women from a number of major groups in Northern Ireland have come together to speak out against calls to force abortion on demand on the Six Counties. As they have rightly pointed out, their law on abortion is life-affirming and has shaped the culture in a positive fashion.
Research by Both Lives Matter, closely scrutinised and upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority, has found that 100,000 individuals are alive in Northern Ireland today who would not be if we had introduced the Abortion Act 1967. As the ASA put it:
“On balance, we concluded that the evidence indicated that there was a reasonable probability that around 100,000 people were alive in Northern Ireland today who would have otherwise been aborted had it been legal to do so”.
Like many in Northern Ireland, we support legislation which upholds the value and worth of both mothers and unborn children. In all likelihood there are 100,000 people alive in Ulster today because of the abortion law there. The Republic of Ireland has just made a huge mistake even if they do not yet realise it. Northern Ireland must not make the same.
Please sign this petition to Theresa May and Karen Bradley to encourage in continuing to ensure that abortion remains a devolved issue in Northern Ireland.