The British parliament has given final approval to radically permissive abortion rules in Northern Ireland, despite the Northern Ireland Assembly opposing the move.
The House of Commons voted by 253 to 177 to give final approval to the regulations, two days after the House of Lords had also approved the move.
“Today is an incredibly tragic day for Northern Ireland, for the unborn child and everyone who supports the right to life,” said Catherine Robinson, spokesperson for Right to Life UK.
“Despite the efforts of tens of thousands of Northern Irish people, MLAs, Northern Irish MPs and pro-life campaigners, like Heidi Crowter, the UK Government’s extreme abortion legislation continues to be in place as a result of today’s vote,” she added.
Earlier this month, the Northern Ireland Assembly voted to reject “the imposition of abortion legislation that extends to all non-fatal disabilities, including Down’s syndrome.”
The bishops of Northern Ireland also urged Assembly members to reject the Westminster-imposed abortion legislation, which they said was forced on the province “without the consent of the people of Northern Ireland.”
“While we regard this to be an unjust law, which was imposed without the consent of the people of Northern Ireland, we are morally obliged, wherever possible, to do all we can to save the lives of unborn children, which could be lost through abortion, and to protect mothers from the pressures they might experience at the time of an unplanned pregnancy,” they said.
Catherine Robinson noted that while the House of Commons vote was a “defeat for pro-life campaigners and the people of Northern Ireland”, it also suggested there had been an increase in the number of pro-life MPs since the December 2019 election.
An earlier vote to impose abortion on Northern Ireland in July 2019 was passed by 332 to 99.
“While we may not have been able to get the result we wanted today, the campaigning of tens of thousands of people has helped get a larger group of MPs taking a pro-life position on these regulations than the last similar vote,” Robinson said.
“However, this is by no means the end. The battle on these regulations now moves to Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Assembly. MLAs must now urgently bring forward to repeal these extreme abortion regulations.”
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