Westminster abortion threat to Northern Ireland will cause "a constitutional crisis"
Precious Life has slammed the UK Government’s latest threat to override the Stormont Assembly and legislate in Westminster for more abortions in Northern Ireland. The pro-life group said it is an attack on democracy and devolution, and will cause “a constitutional crisis.”
The Westminster Parliament already forced abortion on Northern Ireland in 2019 through Section 9 of the ‘NI Executive Formation Act’, which removed the sections of the Offences Against the Person Act that had previously protected unborn babies and their mothers. Westminster’s abortion legislation came into force in Northern Ireland on 31st March last year. Latest official figures released in February revealed that 1091 unborn babies have been killed since then.
However, pro-abortion abortion campaigners are complaining there are not enough abortions being carried out in Northern Ireland.
Director of Precious Life Bernadette Smyth said “The latest threat from Westminster is first and foremost a direct attack on Northern Ireland’s unborn babies, but also an attack on democracy and devolution.
"Westminster has already ignored the principles of democracy and devolution when they forced abortion on Northern Ireland in 2019 through Section 9. They used the excuse that the Stormont Assembly was suspended at that time. But the Assembly has now been up and running since January 2020 so it will cause an a constitutional crisis if Westminster again tries to legislate for what is a devolved matter in Northern Ireland" she said.
This week, Sinn Fein’s vice-president Michelle O’Neill said her Party will demand that the Stormont Executives commission more abortions in Northern Ireland.
Clare Baily, leader of the pro-abortion Green Party, also suggested to the Assembly this week that Westminster will interfere in Assembly business and force more abortion on Northern Ireland. Baily stated “…I look forward to continuing to work with Westminster and the Secretary of State…” to have more babies killed by abortion in Northern Ireland.
Abortion-extremist Emma Campbell of Alliance for Choice also complained that more babies haven’t been killed in Northern Ireland ”despite our intense lobbying of the Secretary of State and the Minister for Health”
The NI Health Minster Robin Swann said “commissioned abortion” in Northern Ireland is “cross-cutting, controversial and one that must be decided by the full Executive.” The Department of Health confirmed that it is not planning any imminent expansion of abortion. “It has been the Health Minister’s stated position that this is a matter for the Executive as a whole to consider,” a spokesman said.
A spokeswoman for the Westminster Government’s Northern Ireland Office (NIO) said “We remain disappointed…” that more babies haven’t been killed by abortion. The spokeswoman confirmed the NIO is considering pushing through further abortion legislation at Westminster to override the Stormont Assembly. “We are continuing to monitor the situation closely, including considering further legislative action at Westminster.”
The DUP leader Arlene Foster called for an urgent meeting with the Secretary of State over the UK Government’s abortion threat.
The DUP’s Westminster Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson also said any move by the NIO to legislate “over the head” of the NI Executive regarding the commissioning of abortion services would be a serious breach of the principle of devolution. “Abortion is a devolved matter …any move by an NIO Minister to legislate over the head of the Northern Ireland Executive would raise serious questions about when and in what areas the Government can make interventions in a devolved administration.” he said
“The DUP would warn the Northern Ireland Office against legislating on a matter which is wholly devolved and we will vigorously oppose such steps.
“When the Northern Ireland Executive was not functioning due to Sinn Fein’s boycott, the Government foisted the most liberal abortion laws anywhere in Europe upon Northern Ireland. That was wrongheaded and deeply damaging. Such laws would never have commanded a majority in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
“Our Party Leader Arlene Foster has asked for an urgent meeting with the Secretary of State. We will be underscoring that this matter rests with the Health Minister Robin Swann and the Government should leave it with the devolved structures to make such decisions.”
Bernadette Smyth concluded, “At this critical time when necessary and life-saving healthcare such as cancer treatments are being postponed – Westminster is giving priority to abortion in Northern Ireland. All through this covid pandemic we’ve been listening to the UK government preaching to us about saving lives. They are hypocrites! Not content with the killing of over 1091 little babies they are now threatening to legislate over the heads of the people of Northern Ireland to have even more babies killed.
“Our Repeal Section 9 Campaign will continue until the right to life and full legal protection is restored to every unborn child in Northern Ireland."