The Catholic bishops of Northern Ireland urged lawmakers this week to reject a new “unjust” law that allows unborn babies to be aborted up to birth.
On Tuesday, the Members of the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly (MLAs) are scheduled to debate new abortion regulations that British Parliament imposed upon Northern Ireland in 2019 while its government was not functioning.
In a letter to lawmakers ahead of the debate, the Catholic bishops slammed the abortion regulations as “unjust law, which was imposed without the consent of the people of Northern Ireland,” The Irish News reports.
The regulations allow unborn babies to be aborted for basically any reason up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. They also allow abortions up to birth if the unborn baby has a disability or the mother’s life is at risk.
“Imagine taking the life of an unborn child because the child has a cleft lip,” Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin wrote over the weekend. “These regulations offer no gestational limits for children with disabilities. Let’s take a stand for the equal right to life and care for all children, before and after birth, as well as their mothers.”
The bishops said the regulations are extreme, and Northern Ireland must not “meekly acquiesce to their promulgation.” They urged MLAs to “take steps to formulate new regulations that will reflect more fully the will of a significant majority of the people in this jurisdiction to protect the lives of mothers and their unborn children.”
According to the Vatican News, the bishops explained that the Catholic Church believes in the sanctity of every human life, from conception to natural death, and prohibits the “direct and deliberate” killing of an unborn baby at any stage of development.
They urged Northern Ireland leaders “to defend the equal right of children with disabilities to appropriate protection and care both before and after birth, as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.”
Follow LifeNews.com on Instagram for pro-life pictures and videos.
Disability rights advocates also have been speaking out against the extreme new abortion regulations. In a recent letter, Heidi Crowter, 24, who has Down syndrome, asked MLAs to reject an abortion law that allows unborn babies with disabilities to be aborted throughout all nine months of pregnancy.
“I think that the law should say that people with Down’s syndrome in Northern Ireland, or another non-fatal disability, are just as precious as people who don’t have such a disability …” Crowter said. “That is why I am now challenging the equivalent law in Great Britain.”
Until recently, Northern Ireland protected unborn babies’ right to life. In 2019, however, the British Parliament voted to force it to legalize abortions while the Stormont, the Northern Ireland legislative body, was not functioning.
Wide-spread opposition to abortion on demand remains. According to SPUC, 79% of the people in Northern Ireland who responded to a recent public consultation rejected the abortion regulations.