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06 / 10 / 2008 - New amendment to HFE Bill - only extend 1967 Abortion Act if approved by Northern Ireland Assembly
A new amendment has been tabled to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill to ensure that the 1967 Abortion Act could only be extended to Northern Ireland if approved by Northern Ireland Assembly.
In July 2008, a group of pro-abortion MPs in Westminster tabled an amendment to the controversial HFE Bill to extend the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland.
Now, a new amendment has been tabled (Friday 3rd October) by Mr Frank Field, Labour MP for Birkenhead, stating extension of the Abortion Act to Northern Ireland should not come into force until the Northern Ireland Assembly approves a motion endorsing it.
Both amendments are expected to be debated during the ‘Report Stage’ of the HFE Bill on 22nd October.
Precious Life have given this new amendment a guarded welcome. The original amendment to extend the Abortion Act should never even have been put forward and we still maintain it should be withdrawn. However, if it is debated on 22nd October, Frank Field’s new amendment will be a vital counter-measure. We would urge all MPs to support his amendment and ensure the democratic process in Northern Ireland is respected.
In October 2007, the Northern Ireland Assembly unanimously passed a motion opposing the legalisation of abortion in the province.
In May 2008, the leaders of the four main political parties in Northern Ireland - Ian Paisley, Gerry Adams, Mark Durkan, and Reg Empey - took the unprecedented move of sending a joint letter to all Westminster MPs, stating the strong opposition across the community to any move to impose abortion on the province, and stating that the law on abortion in Northern Ireland should be a matter for the Assembly only.
Precious Life has been running a Postcard Petition Campaign since January calling for Westminster MPs to respect the pro-life ethos in Northern Ireland and not over-ride the democratic process by attempting to impose abortion on Northern Ireland.