Labour MP Seeks to Foist Abortion on Northern Ireland
An attempt by an English MP to force a change to Northern Ireland’s abortion law has won support in Parliament, although it is unlikely to result in a change in the law.
Diana Johnson, Labour MP for Kingston upon Hull North was seeking to decriminalise abortion in Northern Ireland. Her private members bill, introduced under the 10-minute Rule also sought to change abortion legislation in England and Wales by removing almost all the legal safeguards provided by the Abortion Act.
MPs voted by 208 votes to 123 in favour of Johnson’s bill, but because it lacks Government support it is unlikely to progress any further.
A poll taken before the vote found that a large majority of people in Northern Ireland believe that abortion law should be decided at Stormont, rather than imposed from Westminster. 64 per cent believe that any change to the abortion law should be a matter for the people of Northern Ireland and their elected representatives.
The ComRes poll is based on surveys of 1,013 Northern Irish adults online between October 8th and 15th. Among women, 66 per cent wanted the issue dealt with in the North and not by Westminster.
The strongest support among age groups surveyed came from the youngest age group, 18-34 year olds, with 70 per cent agreeing that they did not want abortion law imposed on Northern Ireland from Westminster.
Dawn McAvoy, of Both Lives Matter, said Ms Johnson’s bill attempted to “override devolution in Northern Ireland and to impose abortion laws on the Northern Irish people”. “This polling clearly shows that this is not what the people of Northern Ireland, and in particular women, want,” she said.
“100,000 people in Northern Ireland are alive today because Northern Ireland did not accept the same abortion law that was introduced into Britain in 1967. We urge British MPs to respect the people of Northern Ireland and our elected representatives.”
A spokesperson for Life NI, Marion Woods said, “If what is proposed under Diana Johnson MP’s Ten Minute Rule Bill was to actually happen, it would have dramatic consequences for Northern Ireland. This polling represents the majority voice of the Northern Irish people and is a reminder to the government in Westminster that abortion remains a devolved issue in Northern Ireland and laws and policy should be decided by a devolved government.”
The Irish Times. October 17. Both Lives Matter. October 17.