A new Bill was introduced to the Northern Ireland Assembly earlier this week to rule out abortion up to birth in situations where an unborn baby is diagnosed with Down syndrome or other non-fatal disabilities.
The Private Members’ Bill from Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MLA Paul Givan was formally introduced to the Assembly on Tuesday.
Northern Ireland’s pro-life law was overturned in 2019 when MPs at Westminster voted to impose wide-ranging abortion on Northern Ireland when the Stormont administration was suspended temporarily.
The Bill introduced this week in the Assembly is an anti-discrimination measure that would end the singling out of unborn babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities for abortion.
If passed, it would not reverse most of the damage caused by the Westminster imposed law, but it would at least end the obvious discrimination contained in the current law which targets people with a disability.
The passage of the Bill would send a strong message that it’s never acceptable to single out an entire category of individuals and seek to justify ending their lives, based solely, for example, on them having a disability.
It should be stated that every abortion discriminates against a defenceless human being, and we must continue our work until the day arrives when every abortion is looked upon as unthinkable.
In the meantime, it is commendable to seek amendments that mitigate some of the harm being done, for example, ending the practice of targeting unborn babies on the basis that they may have a disability.
The Pro Life Campaign, along with disability rights campaigner Heidi Crowter (who herself has Down’s syndrome) and others, have welcomed the Private Members’ Bill that was formally introduced this week.