Activist fails to hijack Bill to force more abortion on Northern Ireland

Activist fails to hijack Bill to force more abortion on Northern Ireland

An abortion amendment to a procedural Bill concerning the government of Northern Ireland, which would have committed Westminster to commission abortion services across the region within a certain time frame, has been ruled out of scope.

Abortion activist, Stella Creasy MP, attempted to hijack the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Bill, which was intended to extend the period for the formation of an Executive in Northern Ireland. Ms Creasy added an amendment to the Bill that would have forced the Government in Westminster to commission abortion services in Northern Ireland within 28 days of the passing of the Act.

If this amendment had passed, abortion would be required to be available across the region and funding for the service must have had to be provided within the time frame Ms Creasy stipulated.

79% of people are opposed to commissioning abortion from Westminster

During the debate, Ms Creasy claimed that there was “widespread support for the provision” of abortion in Northern Ireland, and that the “mood of people in Northern Ireland [had] shifted on this issue”.

However, as both Jim Shannon MP and Carla Lockhart MP pointed out in a Government consultation in Northern Ireland on this issue, “79% of the people who responded from Northern Ireland were against any changes in the abortion law in Northern Ireland”.

Mr Shannon went on to say “ The people of Northern Ireland were asked for their opinion and when the Government got their opinion, they ignored it. She does not care, of course, about the opinion of 79% of the people in Northern Ireland, but we already knew that. Opposition Members will know of our opposition to amendment 11, which was not selected. We are here to represent and speak for the 79% of people who objected to that”.

100,000 people alive in Northern Ireland today due to the abortion ban

During the debate, Carla Lockhart also pointed out that since the introduction of the legislation in Northern Ireland “more than 4,000 babies have been aborted in the womb. That is 4,000 lives lost – a stark difference from the 100,000 who are alive today because of the life-affirming laws that we have”.

The 100,000 people alive today is due to the fact that unborn children were protected from abortion under the law until 2019. The figure was confirmed by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The fight over the commissioning of abortion services in Northern Ireland goes back to 2020. The debate in the commons earlier this week is an extension of an ongoing disagreement about the commissioning of abortion in Northern Ireland. Earlier this year, Westminster granted the Northern Ireland Secretary new powers to commission abortion in the region directly.

During a debate in the House of Lords in June, Baroness O’Loan said that “the regulations give broad, sweeping powers to the Secretary of State effectively to act as a Northern Ireland Minister without having been appointed as a Minister in accordance with the provisions of the Good Friday agreement and the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and without any accountability to the people of Northern Ireland”.