MPs have backed legislation empowering the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to directly commission abortion services across the Province.
Yesterday, the House of Commons voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2021, which authorise Secretary of State Brandon Lewis to impose nationwide abortion provision without Stormont’s consent. The regulations passed through the House of Lords this afternoon, despite vocal opposition.
A radical abortion regime was forced on Northern Ireland by Westminster in March last year. Abortions are now being provided by individual NHS trusts, but have not been commissioned nationwide.
Earlier this week, Robin Walker MP, Minister for Northern Ireland, said: “the Secretary of State is clear that the Department of Health must take concrete steps towards the commissioning of abortion services in Northern Ireland in advance of the summer recess.
“I have asked my officials to work closely with the Department of Health to ensure that urgent progress is made on this issue.”
The Minister added: “The Secretary of State stands ready, if we do not see significant progress before the summer recess, to issue the direction empowered by these regulations.”
A number of MPs spoke against the regulations during a debate of the Delegated Legislation Committee on Monday.
unnecessary, dangerous and overreaching
Miriam Cates described the regulations as “unnecessary, dangerous and overreaching” and Jim Shannon said that he was speaking “for all those unborn babies who have not had the chance to enjoy a real life”.
Stating that the “vast majority of people in Northern Ireland want laws that choose life”, Carla Lockhart concluded her speech by affirming that we are all “’fearfully and wonderfully made’, and all unique individuals.
the millions of babies whose lives have already been ended
“As I left for London this morning, I left my little two-year-old boy Charlie, and walked away from him with a broken heart, thinking of the millions of babies whose lives have already been ended, and those that will potentially, under the regulations, be ended in Northern Ireland.”
Last week, the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster called on politicians to resist Westminster’s move.
In an open letter, signed by 90 serving and retired ministers, the denomination expressed “deep concern” that Westminster planned to give new powers to Brandon Lewis to commission abortion services.
Those who signed the letter said they were “shocked that the Secretary of State should contemplate over-ruling the devolution of powers to Stormont” and that he was willing to “force unwanted doctrinaire regulations” on the Province.
You cannot be party to the commissioning of the killing of the innocent
The ministers continued: “We urge those politicians who are pro-life to stand firm in their convictions. You cannot be party to the commissioning of the killing of the innocent”.
The letter reaffirmed the Church’s commitment to “the Scriptural position that abortion is the murder of innocent human beings”.
In conclusion, it stated: “The best, most compassionate counsel, a woman who has had an abortion can receive is to be told of the pardoning love of God.
“To those who are contemplating an abortion we ask you to get in touch with us or those who are very willing to help you”.