Northern Ireland Pro-Life Group Condemns MPs Plan to Legalize Abortion

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 23, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Northern Ireland Pro-Life Group Condemns MPs Plan to Legalize Abortion

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 23
, 2008

Belfast, Northern Ireland ( — Northern Ireland’s leading pro-life group, Precious Life, has condemned a group of pro-abortion MPs for tabling an amendment in Westminster to legalize abortion there. The group says the lawmakers should respect the pro-life ethos in Northern Ireland and not override the democratic process.

Abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland unless the life of the mother is in danger or the continuation of the pregnancy would cause the woman very serious health issues.

A cross-party group of MPs is attempting to force the House of Commons to vote on an amendment to the controversial Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill later this year.

The British Parliament is expected to approve the bill, which allows hybrid human cloning and is expected to expand abortions in England, so pro-life advocates in Northern Ireland are pushing hard to prevent a vote on legalizing abortion there.

Labour’s Diane Abbott says she’s tired of women in Northern Ireland having to travel to England to get abortions and she thinks there is a "very good chance" MPs will approve the amendment, she said.

If approved, the amendment would extend the 1967 Abortion Act legalizing abortion in the rest of the UK to Northern Ireland.

Bernadette Smyth, the director of Precious Life, told Wednesday that doing so "against the wishes of the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland."

"In October 2007 a motion against abortion was passed that sent out a clear message to Westminster that the Northern Ireland Assembly opposes any attempt to liberalize the law on abortion," she said. "Over 120,000 petitions against abortion were also presented to the Assembly."

In May 2008, the leaders of the four main political parties united to co-sign a letter to all Westminster MPs stating their opposition to plans to extend the 1967 Abortion Act.

The following week, the leaders of Northern Ireland’s four main churches also wrote to all MPs, in support of local political leaders, in asserting that the law on abortion for Northern Ireland should be a matter for the Northern Ireland Assembly.

"“The MPs in Westminster must respect the pro-life ethos in Northern Ireland. They must not over-ride the democratic process by attempting to impose abortion on Northern Ireland," Smyth concluded.

"They must acknowledge the clear pro-life message sent out from our politicians, our churches, and our people," she said.

The amendment is likely to be debated in October during the ‘Report Stage’ of the HFE Bill. That stage has been postponed until later this year.

Related web sites:
Precious Life –



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