Justice Minister David Ford said he will ask the Northern Ireland Executive for approval to introduce legislation that legalizes killing severely disabled unborn babies in abortions.
As the BBC reports:
Justice Minister David Ford said he will ask the Northern Ireland Executive for approval to introduce legislation, which then requires an Assembly vote.
However, he said he will not try to legalise abortion in cases of rape.
Mr Ford made the announcement following a public consultation on proposed reforms to Northern Ireland’s abortion law, which is different from the rest of the UK.
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At present, women who have become pregnant as the result of rape, or who are told they are carrying a child that is too ill to survive, are not entitled to a legal abortion in Northern Ireland.
The the pro-life group SPUC, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, says Northern Ireland’s Justice Minister is misleading the Province over public support for abortion.
Liam Gibson, SPUC Northern Ireland development officer, accused the minister of disregarding the results of his own consultation on the legalisation of abortion for children diagnosed with severe disabilities:
“The minister’s claim that there is substantial support for his plans is contradicted by evidence.
Figures released by the Justice Department show that the the vast majority of those whose responded to the consultation rejected the minister’s proposals. There were 1,500 letters opposed to a change in the law, while only 133 letters supported the proposals. In addition, there was a petition of 23,622 signatures and 20,197 postcard delivered to the department.
Mr Ford appears to be determined to disregard public opposition to his plans to allow the killing of unborn children judged to be unworthy of the legal protection given to other babies.
The thousands of people who took part in the consultation to defend the right to life of the most vulnerable of unborn babies will not simply go away. We will ensure that the politicians in the Assembly will hold the minister to account.”