In a truly awful development, Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris MP has confirmed that following recommendations in a UN report, he will be imposing compulsory lessons for all secondary schools in Northern Ireland on abortion provision and where it can be accessed.
Until now, schools in Northern Ireland were free to address the issue of abortion in accordance with their ethos.
On Tuesday, Heaton-Harris said: “I have today laid regulations in Parliament to implement the CEDAW recommendation to ‘make age-appropriate, comprehensive and scientifically accurate education on sexual and reproductive health and rights, a compulsory component of curriculum for adolescents, covering prevention of early pregnancy and access to abortion in Northern Ireland, and monitor its implementation.’”
The Secretary of State’s move will no doubt be met with fierce opposition in Northern Ireland. The authoritarian and illiberal zeal with which many of our political leaders operate today is deeply destructive and disturbing. Peacefully but resolutely, their embrace of a culture of death must be resisted all the way.