Northern Ireland’s laws on marriage and abortion under threat

Protections for Northern Irish women and unborn children – as well as the law on marriage – could be dramatically changed by Westminster politicians next week.

Currently, abortion is limited to cases where the mother’s life is at risk and marriage is solely for one man and one woman.

But under amendments to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill, both these laws would be changed.


The Christian Institute described it as a “democratic outrage” because MPs would be overriding politicians in Northern Ireland who have previously rejected such changes.

Deputy Director Ciarán Kelly said: “Northern Ireland’s good laws to protect marriage and the sanctity of life would be axed at a stroke.

“It is for elected representatives in Northern Ireland to decide, and the people of Northern Ireland must be consulted.”


The Bill is an administrative piece of legislation to address timescales for restoring the Northern Ireland Assembly.

But a small number of MPs have put forward a range of amendments to impose same-sex marriage and abortion on the Province.

One would require the Secretary of State to publish regulations introducing abortion and same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland by 21 October 2019.


In February, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley said issues like abortion and same-sex marriage should be decided by politicians in Northern Ireland.

This week, both candidates for Prime Minister said it was a matter for the people of Northern Ireland.

In the most recent votes – in 2016 and 2015 – changes to abortion and marriage law were rejected by MLAs.

Related Resources