Friday, 7 February 2020

Campaign response – Stop extreme abortion framework being imposed on Northern Ireland

Thank you to constituents who have been in contact with me about the amendment that was passed to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Bill requiring the Government to introduce a new abortion framework for Northern Ireland that would have to be implemented by 31st March 2020.

As someone whose pro-life views on abortion are known to many, I continue to have my concerns about the imposition of Westminster’s unpopular and unwarranted will on the people of Northern Ireland regarding abortion liberalisation.

The legislative process in Northern Ireland has been devolved since the creation of the Northern Ireland Assembly in 1998 as a result of the Good Friday Agreement. Abortion laws in Northern Ireland is a domestic policy issue that primarily affects the people of Northern Ireland.

Recent polling shows that two-thirds of women in Northern Ireland (and 70% of 18-34 year olds) believe that the law on this issue should be a decision for the people of Northern Ireland and their elected representatives, and is not for Westminster to decide.

It is also worth noting that the Northern Ireland Assembly has considered the issue of abortion more recently than any other parliament in the United Kingdom. In 2016, a cross-community vote in the Northern Ireland Assembly upheld the law on abortion as it currently stands.

The amendment to the NI Bill sets a risky precedence in our devolved relationship with the Northern Ireland executive, especially at a time when we have finally found a way forward to restore the Executive in Belfast.

As your representative in Parliament I continue to work closely with charities and organisations like Right to Life, SPUC (the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) and others to campaign to lower to gestational time limit for abortion in the UK, prohibit the practice of sex-selective abortion, and ensure that we have an adequate system of support women and their unborn children.

I have already spoken to Government ministers about this issue and raised my concerns, and constituents can have my assurance that I will continue to make my views known via all channels on this issue.