MPs vote in favour of NI abortion, but law not set to change

MPs yesterday voted against Northern Ireland’s laws protecting women and the unborn, but the politicians’ actions are not expected to result in any change to the law.

Diana Johnson MP brought forward the plan, but because it lacks Government support it is unlikely to progress any further.

Fiona Bruce challenged the proposal, saying politicians in Northern Ireland backed the current law in 2016.

100,000 alive

In Great Britain, abortions generally can take place up to 24 weeks, while children believed to be disabled can be aborted up to birth.

However, in Northern Ireland abortion is only allowed to protect the life of the mother.

Some 100,000 people are believed to be alive today because of the law.

Impose abortion

However, Johnson’s Ten Minute Rule Bill sought to allow abortion on demand up to 24 weeks in England and Wales.

She wants to remove current legal protections, which would also serve to impose abortion up to 24 weeks on Northern Ireland, where the 1967 Abortion Act does not apply.

Yesterday, MPs voted by 208 votes to 123 in favour of Johnson’s Bill.

Protect

While such Bills rarely become law, activists are expected to use the vote to push even more strongly to remove protections for the unborn.

The House of Commons may tonight vote on a separate attempt to increase pressure for both abortion and same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. This will come through an amendment to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Bill.

The Christian Institute has branded the move “a direct assault” on the Province’s good laws protecting both the life of the unborn and traditional marriage, which have been consistently backed by local politicians.

Institute Deputy Director Ciarán Kelly said the efforts “fly in the face of the will of Northern Ireland’s public who want the issues to be decided by their locally elected representatives – not Westminster”.

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