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Christian charity: MPs ‘severely compromising’ NI devolution agreement through abortion demands

Sat 10 Mar 2018
By Tola Mbakwe

Christian political activist charity CARE has rebuked the Labour party for intervening in Northern Ireland’s laws by trying to overturn its abortion ban.

Labour MP Stella Creasy, who led the campaign to drop the charge for abortions, has created a  cross-party group of politicians urging for the government to provide the same level of access in Northern Ireland as there is across the rest of the UK.

Currently, an abortion in Northern Ireland is allowed only if a woman's life is at risk or there is a serious or permanent risk to her mental health.

Creasy wrote a letter to Home Secretary Amber Rudd this week urging the government to overrule current laws on abortion in Northern Ireland. 

It came as new research shows there has been a 14 per cent rise in women from Northern Ireland having free NHS abortions in England since charges were abolished by the government last June.

Tim Martin director of CARE in Northern Ireland said abortion is an issue that is strictly devolved to Northern Ireland and should be treated as such.

He added: “This is a clear example of the principle of devolution being severely compromised.

“That Westminster would consider overruling the view of the democratically elected Northern Ireland Assembly to impose contentious laws should ring alarm bells for Scotland and Wales too.”

CARE said the letter seems to rest on a report by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) that found that Northern Ireland’s abortion laws “breaches Northern Irish women’s rights”.

However, CARE argued that CEDAW “has no legal status and only provides advisory opinions”.

The Belfast Court of Appeal also ruled last year that Northern Ireland’s abortion law is not incompatible with the European Convention of Human Rights.

Nola Leach CARE Chief Executive said:  “Northern Ireland’s laws are framed in a way that provides the best possible outcome for both the mother and child, balancing their needs so that one is not ignored to the detriment of the other.”

“The letter is devoid of any mention of support services, counselling, or better provision of information, fostering and adoption for mothers.

“Their goal is not to provide options for an expectant mother or any long-term support, but only the ‘quick-fix’ of an abortion.”

Creasy's letter has been countersigned by a number of other MPs.

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