Precious Life welcomes U-turn at Westminster

Northern Ireland’s leading pro-life group Precious Life has welcomed the U-turn at Westminster yesterday which saw Labour MPs Stella Creasy and Conor McGinn’s amendment changed and diluted to a clause that will in no way change our pro-life laws in Northern Ireland. Precious Life has said it was a failed attempt to attack Northern Ireland’s unborn babies, democracy, and our peace process, which highlights, in itself, the importance of devolution.

The amendment was passed with 207 votes in favour, and 117 votes against.  However, Bernadette Smyth of Precious Life has clearly stated that, “This amendment is more of a political statement than anything. The law will still be the law.” Similar to Labour MP Diana Johnson’s pro-abortion bill, from earlier in the week, the amendment will not become law and the government has signalled that it will not give it parliamentary time. It is not binding and according to DUP MP Gavin Robinson, “It doesn’t compel decision making.”

Prior to the vote, one newspaper’s headline was ‘MPs back bid to force government to reform abortion and marriage laws in NI.’ However, this was swiftly changed from an aggressive attempt to drastically reform our laws, by decriminalising abortion right up to the moment of birth, to simply petitioning for guidance to be given to civil servants with regards to our laws on abortion, Bill gives NI civil servants greater flexibility.’ However, as Secretary of the State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley, made clear, allowing civil servants such power would be “totally contrary” to the rule of law and she tried to dissuade MPs from backing the bill. Civil servants are unelected and therefore it would incredibly undemocratic to give them the power to change laws. Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Tony Lloyd described the bill as "grossly inadequate."

Fiona Bruce, a Conservative MP, spoke out in opposition to the amendment. She said it was an attempt to “undermine devolution."She added, “We must respect the 2016 decision by the Assembly, we must respect the fact that many people in Northern Ireland don’t want to see these changes.” Her statement can be backed up by the incredible 300,000 people that have signed various Precious Life petitions in recent years, calling for our pro-life laws to be protected.

This was a failed attempt by Labour MPs to legalise abortion in Northern Ireland and also decriminalise through the whole nine months of pregnancy across England and Wales through the repeal of sections 58, 59 and 60 of the 1861 Offences against the Person Act. This would allow for abortion-on-demand, up to and including the moment of birth. Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, of the DUP, described the proposed amendment as a "means to an end" to decriminalise abortion. DUP MP Gregory Campbell spoke of a “chill” running “through his veins on Wednesday evening” when supposed “liberal and tolerant” MPs spoke “with incredible aggression, clapping and cheering at the result.” However, it was definitely not the result Stella Creasy and other pro-abortion MPs had been hoping for. Their initial proposed amendment to reform our laws did a U-turn and the diluted clause has absolutely no practical effect on our pro-life laws. Stella Creasy and her crusade to legalise abortion in Northern Ireland has, once again, failed miserably.

 

Over 97% of MPs are not from Northern Ireland and do not represent or speak for the people of Northern Ireland. Westminster need to respect devolution and our democratic process at this crucial time. We, the people of Northern Ireland, say abortion - not in our name! Precious Life will continue to keep abortion not only illegal but unthinkable!

 

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