Concerned Northern Irish citizens have been ignored by a Westminster committee in its report on abortion.
The Women and Equalities Committee, which has no representation from Northern Irish MPs, has called for the law to be changed to permit abortion where the unborn child is believed to have a ‘life-limiting disability’.
It launched an inquiry on abortion laws in the province last September, but the vast majority of submissions from the public (89 per cent) were opposed to any changes.
Dawn McAvoy, of pro-life group Both Lives Matter, said: “The submissions from those who do live in Northern Ireland clearly favoured no change in the law.
“Yet the Committee are proposing that Westminster impose abortion law change on us, completely bypassing our elected representatives.
“It is important the public are aware that the proposals today are a small part of a wider campaign to radically alter abortion law across the UK to remove any protection for all the lives involved in a pregnancy.”
‘Life affirming laws’
McAvoy continued: “Thanks to our life-affirming laws there are 100,000 people alive today across NI precisely because we did not accept the same abortion law as Great Britain in 1967.
“Rather than impose unwelcome and unwanted legislation on Northern Ireland, we call on politicians to invest in improving service provision to enable all pregnant women to make good decisions for all lives involved.”
‘No legal imperative’
An alternative report was put forward by Committee member Eddie Hughes MP, which said Westminster should respect devolution, adding that there is “no legal imperative” for abortion laws to change.
Instead of pushing for a more liberal abortion law, it called for better care for women with difficult pregnancies.
Right to Life’s Clare McCarthy said the alternative report “made some very helpful recommendations for improving support for families with children with life-limiting disabilities”.
She added: “Abortion in Northern Ireland remains a devolved issue and the Government in Westminster must be reminded that they have no mandate from the people of Northern Ireland to make any changes to their pro-life laws on abortion”.
The Christian Institute’s Northern Ireland Officer Callum Webster said: “This is another example of English and Scottish MPs operating to try and impose a pro-abortion agenda on Northern Ireland.
“Almost 90 per cent of the Northern Irish people who responded to the consultation made clear that they opposed Westminster politicians changing abortion law in the Province. Their views have been ignored by the majority of MPs on the Committee”.
“The activists on the Committee know full well that liberalising the law in this way would give them the opportunity to legalise abortion on much wider grounds”.
“Westminster should respect devolution and the clear wishes of the Northern Irish people and reject the demands of report”.