Northern Ireland to Vote on Abortion up to Moment of Birth

News: Life and Family
by Rodney Pelletier  •  •  February 9, 2016   

New laws would allow abortion up to the time of birth for "fatal fetal abnormality"

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BELFAST ( - Northern Irish lawmakers are proposing three new laws that would allow abortion up to the moment of birth in the case of rape and fetal abnormality. The proposals will be debated and put to a vote on Wednesday.

Abortion is legal in Northern Ireland in the event of permanent risk to the mother's physical or mental health or if her life is at risk. Abortion on demand is allowed in other areas of Great Britain. Women in Northern Ireland seeking abortions usually travel to Scotland, England or Wales to terminate their pregnancies.

Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) Steward Dickson and Trevor Lund are seeking to expand the abortion law to include fetal abnormality, and apply the exception up to the moment of birth.

They state the case of Sarah Ewart, a Northern Irish woman who documented how it was a "living nightmare" for her to have to travel to England to get an abortion at 20 weeks. Her child had anencephaly, and she was told by her doctors it wouldn't live to birth.

While Dickson and Lund claim their amendment strictly addresses "fetal abnormality," MLA member Steven Agnew wants to extend abortion to rape and incest. He claims, "We need to support women who have suffered a tragedy — not add to their suffering by denying them healthcare."

He estimates over 20 women travel to other parts of the United Kingdom from Northern Ireland every day to get an abortion.

In December 2015 the High Court ruled the country's abortion laws violate the European Convention on Human Rights since they don't allow abortion for rape, incest or fetal abnormality.

A widely publicized poll maintained 69 percent of people in Northern Irelaqnd think abortion should be legal if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, and 60 percent think it should be available for fetal abnormality.

The pro-life organization Precious Life, the largest pro-life group in Northern Ireland, disagrees with the poll numbers, maintaining that 99 percent of people in the country disagree with abortion and don't want it further legalized.

The people of Northern Ireland have made their voices heard that abortion will never be in their name, and we are very hopeful that the political parties who had won the votes of the people in the last Northern Ireland Assembly election and were elected because of their strongly pro-life party policies will vote against these evil amendments tomorrow.

Its director Bernadette Smyth spoke earlier, saying there is no medical definition for "fatal fetal abnormality," indicating it could be applied to just about any situation and therefore would allow mothers to get abortions for practically any reason.

Precious Life is encouraging people to contact their MLA and urge them to vote for life.


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