Abortion law protecting NI women under renewed pressure from Westminster

Northern Ireland’s law protecting women and unborn children from abortion is to be investigated by MPs in Westminster.

The Women and Equalities Committee wants evidence on the UK Government’s “responsibilities” to “reform abortion law” in Northern Ireland.

But Callum Webster of The Christian Institute said the good law should instead be celebrated.


Unlike in England, Scotland and Wales, women and unborn children have substantial protections from abortion in Northern Ireland.

Some 100,000 people are alive today as a result of the law, which was backed by MLAs as recently as 2016.

However, the Westminster committee instead noted critical comments from the UK Supreme Court on the issue. This is despite the judges acknowledging at the time that they had no basis to make a ruling due to the particular circumstances of the case.


Callum Webster, the Institute’s Northern Ireland Officer, said: “The UK Government has clearly stated that it is for Northern Ireland to make its own decisions on abortion.

“Mainland MPs should not be using this inquiry to try and impose liberal abortion laws on Northern Ireland.

“The evidence is clear that when countries weaken their legal protections for unborn children, many more babies are aborted.


“In Great Britain, the 1967 Abortion Act was introduced supposedly to deal with hard cases, but since then, nine million babies have been killed. An average of 553 unborn children are now aborted every day in England, Scotland and Wales.

“In contrast, 100,000 lives have been saved in Northern Ireland over the same period because local politicians have bravely resisted the pressure to introduce an Abortion Act.”

The Committee, led by Maria Miller MP, claims it “welcomes all views and will consult widely”.


It will be asking medical professionals whether the law should be changed, as well as questioning women who “have been affected by the law”.

The Committee will also ask: “What are the responsibilities of the UK Government under its international obligations for taking action to reform abortion law in Northern Ireland?

“How should these be reconciled to the UK’s devolution settlement?”


In June, Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley said Westminster should not seek to impose abortion.

“Abortion has been a devolved matter in Northern Ireland since it was created in 1921, and it would not be appropriate for Westminster to seek to impose its will”.

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