Pro-life peers stood up against a new bid to impose abortion on Northern Ireland this week.
Speaking in the House of Lords on Tuesday, they argued that abortion is not a human rights matter and is for Northern Ireland to decide.
An amendment, tabled by Lord Adonis, would have effectively legalised abortion in Northern Ireland on any basis up to 28 weeks, imposing the most extreme abortion regime in the UK. It would also impose same-sex marriage on Northern Ireland.
Challenging Adonis’ move, Lord Alton said, “the deliberate ending of life in the womb… is a serious issue”.
“In a Bill of such a limited and temporary nature, how can anyone reasonably suggest that an issue as contentious and sensitive as abortion should even be included for consideration?”
Abortion and same-sex marriage laws are devolved issues for Northern Ireland and peers warned that interfering would be ‘overreaching the powers of Westminster’.
Lord Curry argued, “we should respect the fact that marriage and abortion are devolved from Northern Ireland to the Northern Ireland Assembly, so we should leave it to the Assembly and stop interfering”.
…there is no right to kill the unborn child in the womb
Going further, he added, “I subscribe to the biblical view that human life is sacred from conception and that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life”.
Baroness O’Loan agreed, stressing that abortion “is not a human right. There is a right to life; there is no right to kill the unborn child in the womb”.
The amendment wasn’t pushed to a vote and will not become legislation.
Doesn’t change law
Peers were debating the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Bill.
Last week MPs backed an amendment to the Bill requiring the Northern Ireland Secretary to “issue guidance” on same-sex marriage and abortion.
This did not change the law in Northern Ireland and drew criticism as an ‘inappropriate’ move that went against the principle of devolution.