Since the imposition of a new extreme abortion regime last year, abortion has been available in Northern Ireland. However, at present, one of the five NHS hospital trusts is unable to provide the medical abortions since a doctor went on maternity leave.
The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC), a group that has been a long-term advocate for introducing abortion to Northern Ireland, has subsequently accused the Northern Ireland Secretary, Brandon Lewis MP, of unlawfully denying women in the region an abortion.
“We have learned to expect little from the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission”
The NIHRC is also taking legal action against the Northern Ireland Executive and the Department of Health (DoH) for “failing to commission and fund abortion services”.
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A spokesperson for the DoH said: “[it] is not required to commission the relevant services”, and explained that “significant or controversial” issues have to be brought before the Executive.
The DoH said it was “not possible at present to give a timescale for the introduction of a fully commissioned abortion service”.
However Traditional Unionist Voice councillor Timothy Gaston spoke out against the NIHRC, saying:
“We have learned to expect little from the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission but their decision to launch legal action over the alleged failure to commission and fund the provision of abortion in Northern Ireland is a new low,”.
“It is shameful that an organisation which proudly markets itself as ‘protecting and promoting the human rights of everyone in Northern Ireland’ should use public money in an action which would, if successful, result in a direct threat to the most basic and fundamental human right of the most vulnerable – the right to life of the unborn”.
Northern Ireland’s extreme abortion regime
In 2019, in the absence of a functioning Northern Ireland Assembly, politicians in Westminster’s House of Commons and House of Lords voted to force radical abortion legislation on the province.
The new regime, which came into force at the end of March 2020, allows abortion up to the point of birth for all disabilities, including cleft lip, club foot and Down’s syndrome.
Abortion is available de-facto on demand through to 24-weeks and available on demand, without conditionality, up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, for the first time in the UK, allowing for sex-selective abortion to be available on demand.
From the introduction of abortion in Northern Ireland to the middle of October 2020, more than 700 abortions took place.
In response to a written question, submitted by Traditional Unionist Voice MLA Jim Allister, Health Minister Robin Swann disclosed that 719 terminations took place between 31 March and 14 October.
The tragic figure shows an additional 55 lives have been lost to abortion since the Belfast Telegraph reported on 2 October that 664 terminations had taken place.
Ahead of the law change in Northern Ireland, polling from Savanta ComRes showed a strong majority of women in Northern Ireland rejected interference from Westminster on the issue of abortion, with two thirds agreeing that this was a decision for Northern Ireland. The strongest support among age groups surveyed came from the youngest age group, 18-34 year olds, with 70% agreeing that they did not want abortion law imposed on Northern Ireland from Westminster.
Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “The actions of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission are absolutely disgraceful. As a state-funded body, it is in fact our money that is being used to fund their activity. This money is then being used to put pressure on the Government, through the threat of legal action, to increase abortion access in a region that never wanted abortion in the first place”.
“Moreover, they are using taxpayer money to further dehumanise and eliminate from society the weakest and most vulnerable among us, unborn children. This is rather ironic, given their self-proclaimed ‘mission’ to “champion and guard the rights of all those who live in Northern Ireland”. As with advocates of DIY abortion, the lobbyists are showing their unwavering commitment to furthering abortion access at all costs, regardless of the impact that this has on mothers, let alone their children”.