British MPs have approved amendments to abortion reform in Northern Ireland by 328 votes to 65. The House of Commons have been voting on the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill, which aims to get the Northern Irish assembly functioning again. Added to this bill have been amendments on legalising same-sex marriage and abortion in Northern Ireland, both issues which cannot be changed currently due to their assembly not sitting. Seven of the 10 DUP MPs voted against the amendments, two acted as tellers (those who reveal the results) and Northern Irish independent MP Lady Sylvia Hermon voted for the amendments.
Abortion is now set to be decriminalised in Northern Ireland from 22nd October and regulations will be in place from 31st March 2020. The repealing of the 1861 Offences Against the Persons Act will mean that the laws around abortion in Northern Ireland will be the most liberal in the UK. Aborting a pregnancy would then be allowed up to 28 weeks (it is 24 in the rest of the UK). Right To Life UK spokesperson, Clare McCarthy, said: “The people of Northern Ireland have thirteen weeks to stop the introduction of one of the world’s most extreme abortion regimes to the province.
“Many thousands of people in Northern Ireland are deeply angered and distressed by this action by the Westminster Parliament. The manner in which MPs from Westminster have attempted to impose abortion on a people that do not want it, and who they do not represent, is grossly disrespectful and unconstitutional.” 19,000 people from Northern Ireland have signed a letter asking the British Prime Minister to intervene. Clare McCarthy said: “It’s those 19,000 people, organisations and wider Northern Irish society that now need to come together as soon as possible to build a movement to ensure that Stormont is reconvened.”
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