SDLP betray Northern Ireland's unborn babies in their greatest hour of need

Precious Life were at Stormont Parliament Buildings in Belfast today (21st Oct) to protest at Westminster’s abortion law for Northern Ireland. At 9am this morning, the pro-life group marched up the ‘Stormont Mile’ carrying the banner - “Abortion – Not in our Name.” Members were present in the public gallery for the sitting of the recalled Assembly. However, the Assembly was forced to close after the SDLP walked out. Precious Life said the SDLP “betrayed the unborn babies of Northern Ireland in their greatest hour of need.”

NI's Stormont Assembly was sitting for the first time in nearly three years after being recalled in a last-minute attempt to stop the imposition of abortion laws from Westminster. NI has been without a devolved government since January 2017 when the power-sharing parties split. In July 2019, Westminster suspended their normal rules to pass legislation to impose abortion on Northern Ireland if the parties had not formed an Executive by 21st October.

Pro-abortion Parties, Sinn Fein, Alliance, Green Party and People Before Profit did not attend the sitting of the recalled Assembly - making the excuse that the recall was a “political stunt” - but welcomed the Westminster law to force abortion on Northern Ireland.

The SDLP had also previously said they would not attend, using the excuse of a “political stunt.” However under pressure from pro-life people across Northern Ireland, the Party did attend.

Also present in the chamber were the DUP, UUP, TUV leader Jim Allister, and independent MLA Claire Sugden.

The DUP attempted to introduce a ‘Defence of the Unborn Child Act’ and get it passed into law today to stop Westminster’s abortion law. This would have required a suspension of normal assembly rules - known as ‘standing orders’. Normally, the Assembly has to elect a speaker, with cross-community support as its first business. However, the DUP's Paul Givan said: "The legal opinion of the attorney general is crystal clear... that it is permissible to suspend standing orders to proceed with business."

However, the suspension of standing orders was not allowed.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said no Executive could be formed without the presence of Sinn Féin members, therefore his party would not participate in the "stunt any longer" - and he and his party's MLAs got on their feet and walked out of the chamber.

Because of the SDLP walkout, there was no ‘nationalist’ representation in the Stormont chamber. Any vote to elect a speaker, with cross-community support, was now impossible. The first Stormont session in almost three years was forced to come to an end.

This means the legalisation to kill unborn babies in Northern Ireland will come into force at midnight.

Director of Precious Life, Bernadette Smyth said, “The SDLP - who still spout the lie that they are a ‘pro-life party’ – have betrayed the unborn babies of Northern Ireland by walking out of the Stormont Chamber. They pulled the life-line from our unborn children. They walked away and abandoned unborn babies in their greatest hour of need.

“The SDLP have now well and truly earned the name of the ‘Stoop Down Low Party’. Since when have the SDLP been so concerned about the non-presence of Sinn Fein? The SDLP knew that, as the only ‘nationalist’ representatives in the chamber today, their presence was crucial to any attempt to elect a speaker or form an executive, and stop this abortion law being forced on us from Westminster. The SDLP should have fought tooth and nail, and stayed in the chamber to the stroke of midnight to stop the Westminster law to kill unborn babies in Northern Ireland.

“The SDLP now share the blame - with Sinn Fein, Alliance, Green Party and People Before Profit, in collusion with the pro-abortion Westminster MPs – in forcing the most cruel and extreme abortion law in Europe on to Northern Ireland.

“The Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King Jr. once said that those who accept evil without protesting against it are really cooperating with it. History will remember all those MLAs who cooperated with evil today and allowed unborn babies to be killed in Northern Ireland.”

She added, “This abortion legislation from Westminster is also a shameful and cynical betrayal of the Good Friday Agreement. The hypocrisy has been exposed today of those MLAs who claim they support and defend the GFA, but allowed Westminster to force ‘direct rule’ on Northern Ireland. Never again must they be allowed to claim they support democracy and devolution.

“But no law, and no government can take away our right to defend the unborn babies of Northern Ireland. No law or government can take away the factual reality that unborn babies are part of our human family. Today – 21st October 2019 – unborn babies are little human beings who must be protected, and will still be tomorrow."

Bernadette Smyth concluded – “The people of Northern Ireland have fought the good fight and will continue to do so. This is our time, this is our battle. The imposition of abortion will be met with opposition from people throughout Northern Ireland. We will increase our campaigns to ensure women are given better crisis pregnancy support.  We will step up our ‘Lobby for Life’ political campaigns, and our ‘Youth for Life’ street outreach campaigns to expose the horrific reality of abortion. We will expose every MLAs who allowed Westminster to force abortion on Northern Ireland. The battle to protect our most vulnerable citizens – our unborn babies - is far from over and will continue with even greater determination than before.”

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