Harman challenged on NI abortion bid

Deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman has been quizzed over MPs’ attempt to impose legalised abortion in Northern Ireland.

She was asked to accept that such a move would be “highly inappropriate” and would fail to respect the wishes of the Northern Irish people.

A group of MPs led by Diane Abbott have introduced an amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill to make abortion accessible to women in the Province as it is in the rest of the UK. Currently, abortion is only allowed in Northern Ireland if the mother’s life is at risk.

When the embryos Bill came up in a general debate on upcoming business this afternoon, Miss Harman was asked by DUP MP Nigel Dodds to “accept that it would be a highly inappropriate vehicle to be used to impose a fundamental change in relation to the law on abortion in Northern Ireland?”

Mr Dodds added: “Given this is something that the communities in Northern Ireland are united on, all the parties are united on and if devolution is to mean anything then the wishes of the people of Northern Ireland should be respected in that regard.”

In response to the question, Miss Harman failed to give any assurance, simply stating:

“It is very important the view of the parties is taken into account irrespective of the issue that is being raised,” she replied.

“Also it is important that the views of men and also women are taken into account in all parts of the UK when services are being considered.”

Pro-abortion campaigners have recently stepped up pressure on MPs to vote in favour of a change to the law in Northern Ireland. There is no guarantee that any abortion amendments will be selected when the embryos Bill is debated.

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