United Nations Committee Wants Britain to Legalize Abortion in Northern Ireland
by Steven Ertelt
July 31, 2008
London, England (LifeNews.com) — In advance of a debate in the British Parliament on whether or not to extend the 1967 legalizing abortion in Britain to Northern Ireland, a UN panel has weighed in. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, which has pestered other nations to legalizing abortions, says move ahead.
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.
The CEDAW committee repeated its earlier call for MPs to approve an amendment to the controversial Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill to force abortion on Northern Ireland.
Members of parliament are slated to debate the bill, and an amendment promoting abortion from Labour MP Diane Abbott, sometime this Fall.
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.
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.
The panel claimed the lack of legalized abortion in Northern Ireland is hurting women’s health, even though abortion has a plethora of problematic medical and mental health consequences.
The BBC indicates the new report calls the lack of abortion in Northern Ireland a "punitive provision" of the original 1967 abortion law that allowed virtually unlimited abortions in the UK.
Last week, Northern Irelands leading pro-life group, Precious Life, has condemned the amendment. It said lawmakers should respect the pro-life ethos in Northern Ireland and not override the democratic process.
Bernadette Smyth, the director of Precious Life, told LifeNews.com Wednesday that extending abortion to Northern Ireland would go "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 – https://www.preciouslife.com
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