Abortion and Northern Ireland Devolution

Abortion remains a highly sensitive issue, regardless of where your view lies. However I completely agree with you about the need for reform and that last year’s referendum in Southern Ireland and the Supreme Court’s ruling both confirm it is unquestionably time for change in Northern Ireland.

Last year, I took part in a debate in the House about the decriminalisation of abortion in the UK which also considered the impact of the continuing absence of a devolved assembly in Northern Ireland. Sections 58 and 59 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861 puts abortion in the same category of homicide, destroying or damaging a building with the use of gunpowder with the intent to murder, child stealing, rape, and defilement of women.

If you would like to read the debate in full, including Stella Creasy MP’s speech in which she sets out the misconceptions about the debate, it is available here

This issue was debated in Parliament last year and you may be aware that I spoke, with deeply personal experience, in favour of such change in the debate. You can watch it here

Quite simply, this is a matter of human rights, fairness, equality and choice.

This is an issue which I have campaigned on with Amnesty International for some time and earlier this year, I joined with Amnesty International when they delivered a petition to the Prime Minister calling on her to change the law in Northern Ireland. Further details are available in an interview here.

If Northern Ireland is unable or unwilling to effect legislative change, I am in no doubt that Westminster will force the issue – please be in no doubt, there are enough of us who will ensure it does.