ACTION Alert: Barbaric Abortion Regime Confirmed for Northern Ireland. Will you help us fight it? Email your MLA now

The UK Government published Northern Ireland’s new abortion law today, following the imposition of Section 9 of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Act in Northern Ireland. Abortion will be legal right up to 24-weeks on demand, for any or no reason, and right up to birth for disabilities.

Despite the fact that the UK has been brought to its knees dealing with the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, with the NHS stretched to breaking point, and despite the return of Stormont in January this year, the UK Conservative Government have today announced that they will go ahead with imposing an inhumane and barbaric abortion law on Northern Ireland next week (31st March 2020).

Of all submissions received, 79% of those expressed a view that was in opposition to sweeping and extreme changes to the law.

Northern Ireland’s leading pro-life organisation Precious Life has called on MLAs to Repeal this inhumane and barbaric abortion regime as soon as possible through their prominent ‘Repeal Section 9’ Campaign, which has gathered thousands of signatures from concerned NI citizens. Precious Life also urged the Department of Health in Northern Ireland to prioritise dealing with the Coronavirus crisis and not sacrifice time or resources, necessary for saving lives during this pandemic, to instead ending lives of unborn children at putting women at risk through an extreme abortion regime.

The immeasurably cruel abortion law announced by the Conservative Government today will include:

• Disability selective abortion for any disability including Down’s Syndrome, cleft lip and club foot, right through to BIRTH. (2.1.3)

• Abortion will be available through to birth “if the child were born, it would suffer from such physical or mental impairment as to be seriously disabled.” 

• This wording is identical to the 1967 Abortion Act which governs abortion in England and Wales, which appears illusive but has in practise permitted abortion up to BIRTH for disabilities or life-limiting conditions (‘that there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped’).

• Abortion on demand for any reason or no reason up to 24-weeks. (2.1.2

• Abortion-on-demand, for any reason, including sex-selective abortion, through to 12 weeks. (2.1.1)

• This goes even further than the permissive abortion law in England and Wales and will be the FIRST time that abortion will be available on demand (unconditionally) legally in the UK, legalising the practise of sex-selective abortion. As a doctor will only have to confirm that the baby is not 12-weeks gestation or older, there would be NO legal grounds for a health professional to refuse to perform a sex-selective abortion. 

• Abortions will be available in GP surgeries throughout Northern Ireland (2.1.6

• This goes much further than the law in England and Wales, where abortions are only allowed to be performed at hospitals or places approved by the Secretary of State.

• There is NO requirement that a doctor must be involved in an abortion – midwives and nurses will be able to provide abortions (2.1.5)

• This goes further than the law in England and Wales, where abortions can only be performed by a registered medical practitioner (doctor), and the Abortion Act requires the approval of two doctors before an abortion can be performed, but this will not be the case in NI

• No parental notification provision – Young girls will be able to get abortions without their parent’s consent.

• No consideration or ‘waiting’ period provision for women in NI.

• No provision for independent counselling for women seeking an abortion. 

Director and Spokesperson for Precious Life, Bernadette Smyth, said today:

“Despite the fact that Stormont has returned and the UK is in the middle of the Coronavirus crisis, the UK Government are proceeding with imposing an extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland on 31st March 2020.

“It is horrifying to learn that one of the most permissive, extreme and inhumane abortion regimes will be introduced to Northern Ireland by the Conservative Government by next week (March 31st). This is in spite of the fact that our elected representatives returned to Stormont in January and the UK has been brought to its knees by the Coronavirus pandemic. Right in the middle of a national crisis, when people in Northern Ireland and across the world are uniting under the shared understanding that all human life is precious and must be protected, the Conservative Government are still intent on killing and destroying innocent and vulnerable human life in Northern Ireland.

We have fought against the Campaign for abortion in Northern Ireland for 23 years, and there is absolutely no on-the-ground demand for any changes to our life-saving pro-life laws which have been protected by the electorate persistently.

To exacerbate this terrible situation further, Boris Johnson’s Conservative Government have taken what Parliament asked them to impose on Northern Ireland and made this regime even more barbaric than could have been imagined. The changes they have introduced will mean that Northern Ireland will have one of the most permissive, extreme and inhumane abortion laws in the world, despite the fact that 79% of respondents to the consultation were resolutely opposed to any abortion provision in Northern Ireland beyond that which is currently permitted.

This extreme abortion regime is set to legalise abortion on-demand for any and every reason, right up to 28 weeks. It will make it legal to abort babies for being ‘the wrong gender’ and will devastatingly discriminate against those with disabilities, who enrich and bring so much colour, diversity and joy to our society. Under this regime, it will be legal to abort unborn children suspected of having a disability such as Down’s Syndrome, cleft palette, cleft lip and club foot, as well as children with life-limiting conditions such as anencephaly.

Shockingly, this law also means there is no requirement for a doctor to be involved in abortion, meaning abortions can be performed by nurses and midwives – the caregivers who have gone into their professions to care for people and bring the joy of new life into the world safely. Under this law, there is also no requirement for two doctors to sign off on an abortion, which will ultimately put women at huge danger and allow for massive exploitation.

Abortions will also be available at GPs surgeries throughout Northern Ireland, this again goes further than the law In England and Wales, where abortions are restricted to hospitals or places approved by the Secretary of State. This is hugely concerning for family doctors across Northern Ireland, who are being put under pressure by the Conservative Government to authorise the ending of precious human life.

At a time when the NHS is stretched to breaking point in its heroic and steadfast efforts to save the lives of those affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, the introduction of abortion on demand will put enormous pressure on our health service. The cost of this abortion regime will be over £5 million a year - £5 allocated to violently ending lives of unborn children, putting more pressure on an overworked health service. Rolling out this appalling service is likely to cost much more than that in terms of start-up costs and will sacrifice vital health service time and resources which should be going to fighting the current pandemic and saving human life.

In light of today’s announcement, we are renewing our calls for MLAs to bring forward legislation REPEAL this inhumane and barbaric legislation immediately to protect the lives of children and women in Northern Ireland. We are also calling on MLAs to confirm that the Department of Health in Northern Ireland will prioritise dealing with the ongoing Coronavirus crisis and not divert any time and resources, which are critical to saving lives during this crisis, to instead introducing this horrifying abortion regime to Northern Ireland."

Please take action today by writing to your MLA to ask that they pass urgent legislation to repeal this abortion law. You can find your MLA and their details at this link

We are also asking you to take as little as 30 seconds to SIGN our 'Repeal Section 9' Online Petition to demand the repeal of this barbaric and permissive abortion law, and the restoration of legal protection for unborn babies in NI. Find the Petition by CLICKING HERE

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