Attempts to impose abortion on Northern Ireland should be resisted, MPs were told yesterday.
At a special meeting in Westminster, MPs heard from women across the Province’s political spectrum, including a former Sinn Féin mayor, a DUP MLA and an SDLP councillor.
The event was hosted by pro-life group Both Lives Matter, in response to persistent calls in Westminster to remove Northern Ireland’s protections for the unborn.
Labour MP Stella Creasy has proposed an amendment to the upcoming Domestic Abuse Bill at Westminster which would liberalise abortion in Northern Ireland, despite it having been a devolved issue since 2009.
In 2016, MLAs voted to keep the current protections for the unborn, rejecting a proposal to legalise abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities.
The proposal was defeated by 59 votes to 40.
Dawn McAvoy, co-founder of Both Lives Matter, said the push to change the law “is being driven by pro-abortion campaigners who are trying to open up unlimited access to abortion.
“We represent some of the many Northern Irish women who reject this.”
She added that the current law provides “proper protection” for both the mother and unborn baby, and urged MPs “to respect the people of Northern Ireland” and its elected representatives.
Carla Lockhart, a DUP MLA, said she had constituents who were “deeply concerned” about having abortion on demand being foisted on Northern Ireland.
She called on members of both Houses “to respect the sincere and deeply-held views of many in Northern Ireland about abortion, as well as the role of the Northern Ireland Assembly”.
She added that “any move to liberalise our abortion laws through Westminster would be unreasonable and disrespectful to the democratic process in Northern Ireland”.
Ann Brolly, a former Sinn Féin mayor, said that “many women, of different political persuasions” do not want this imposition.
SDLP Councillor Roisin Lynch echoed Brolly’s sentiments. She said: “I want politicians here at Westminster to know that it’s not just the SDLP, or unionists, or religious fundamentalists who hold pro-life views.
“Individuals from diﬀerent religious, political and cultural backgrounds support the life of the unborn child.”
She added: “I do not believe that being progressive involves supporting widespread access to abortion.”