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Enforcing abortion on Northern Ireland is ‘insidious’ says Arlene Foster

by | Aug 5, 2019

Arlene Foster asserts abortion legislation must remain a locally decided matter

By SPUC—the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

Editor’s note. “Devolution” refers to the many powers to make laws and deliver public services that the separate legislatures and executives in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland enjoy. “Westminster” is short-hand for the seat of the British Parliament.

Arlene Foster ascertains abortion legislation must remain a devolved matter

Arlene Foster has slammed Westminster’s moves to impose abortion upon Northern Ireland as ‘insidious.’

The Democratic Unionist Party leader who appeared [last month] on the BBC Northern Ireland’s Sunday Politics Programme addressed the pro-abortion amendments made in the Northern Ireland Executive Formation Bill. Ms. Foster branded them as ‘most insidious’ and said abortion legislation should remain a devolved matter for the people and government of Northern Ireland.

Ms. Foster said: “The clause on abortion, which of course is probably the most insidious of all, because I do not believe there’s any support at-all to go to a situation where you would have abortion up to 28 weeks. There is no way that would pass through the assembly in Northern Ireland….So therefore there is a need to deal with that matter and to get a distinctive Northern Irish voice to deal with what the people here want in relation to their abortion laws.”

Whilst Sinn Fein [a political party] supports the insertion of abortion laws, Ms Foster said in her interview that she had spoken with Sinn Fein Northern Ireland leader, Michelle O’Neil, who assured her that Sinn Fein did not support abortion up to 28 weeks.

The impending Bill

Despite extensive outcry from Northern Irish political leaders and citizens, the Northern Irish Executive Formation Bill, which was scandalously supported by a majority of Westminster MPs last Thursday, will likely be imposed upon the region of Northern Ireland by October 21st.

The Bill will see the repeal of section 58 and section 59 of the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act which are currently the only safeguards protecting unborn children from the threat of abortion in Northern Ireland.

Despite Westminster MPs voting by a majority of 236 to strip unborn children of their protections, the position of the politicians appears to be entirely out of touch with the wants of the Northern Irish people.

A 2018 ComRes poll revealed that 64% of the Northern Irish population thought that a change in law regarding abortion should be a decision for the people of Northern Ireland and their elected representatives, not Westminster. The same poll also found that a clear majority of women reject Westminster interference on this issue. The strongest support group however consisted of those aged between 18-34 with 70% stating that they did not want Westminster imposing abortion law in Northern Ireland.

Liam Gibson, SPUC’s Northern Ireland Political Officer said: “What has happened is a disgraceful abuse of power by Westminster. By ramming abortion on demand down our throats Parliament has torn-up the devolution settlement and is treating Northern Ireland as a colony. What is most shocking is that all this has been done in the name of human rights. Abortion is not a human right. It is an act of lethal violence directed at an unborn child and is never justified.”

Unless devolution is fully restored within Stormont, abortion will be inflicted upon the region and people of Northern Ireland by October 21st 2019. Speaking on Sunday to the BBC Northern Ireland’s Politics programme however, Ms Foster gave a gleam of hope for the possibility of devolution being renewed and the looming threat of abortion being avoided.

Ms Foster claimed that the Democratic Unionist Party had been in ‘serious negotiations’ to restore devolution.

Ms. Foster said: “The talks in relation to getting Stormont [the home of the Parliament of Northern Ireland] back up and running again have been happening, we have been there all last week, trying to make it happen and we will be back again this week trying to make it happen. There are serious negotiations going on at this present moment and time.”

Ms. Foster added: “The best way to deal with this is to get devolution back up and running again so the people of Northern Ireland can have their own unique voice heard in devolution. The whole of that Bill would fall, including the clause on abortion.”

Categories: Legislation
Tags: abortion