The Stormont assembly has been ordered by Boris Johnson’s government to introduce wide-ranging abortion in Northern Ireland before the end of March 2022. Yesterday, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis directed the Department of Health and others to start making provision for abortion on demand, including abortion up to birth where the unborn baby has a disability. You can read the statement here.
Sinn Féin has welcomed the latest move by the British government, while the DUP has said it “undermined” devolution. Carla Lockhart, the DUP MP for Upper Bann said the issue was one that local politicians should have been allowed to find agreement on without inference from the Westminster government.
“The government’s insistence on interfering on devolved issues undermines the institutions. Indeed, cynically, some local parties know that by failing to engage constructively to find that local agreement, that the government will deliver their objectives by March 2022 at the latest,” she said.
“What incentive have they now to give any regard to the pro-life views held by hundreds of thousands of people in Northern Ireland?”
She continued: “What we have in this statement from the Secretary of State is a further example of a government acting with no respect to the local electorate and locally elected politicians. The DUP stand ready to find a locally agreed way forward.”
Meanwhile, Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill of Sinn Féin welcomed the Northern Ireland Secretary’s intervention and tweeted: “Finally women here can have access to the modern and compassionate healthcare services they are legally entitled to.”
Ms O’Neill’s description of abortion as “healthcare” flies in the face of all the peer reviewed evidence highlighting the adverse after-effects of abortion on women. Healthcare is about healing, not harming. It is also terribly sad to watch a senior politician like Michelle O’Neill describing something as healthcare that she knows full well ends the lives of small defenseless unborn babies.