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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Disgraceful Abuse of power by Westminster

Pro-lifers have condemned the actions of parliamentarians in England who have committed one of the most “disgraceful” assaults on democracy against the people of Northern Ireland through amendments to the Northern Ireland Executive Formation Bill.

Amendments to the Northern Ireland Bill were passed today, supported by majorities in the House of Lords and House of Commons in favour of abortion being imposed on Northern Ireland. If the Northern Ireland Executive is not convened by 21st October, abortion will be imposed on Northern Ireland. The objections of their elected representatives in the Commons, the 2016 vote of the Northern Ireland Assembly rejecting abortion and the petition of 17,000 people against the amendments have all been ignored.

Liz Parsons, Life Charity’s director of advocacy, told The Catholic Universe: “This Bill with its abortion amendments is a vicious slap in the face of the people of Northern Ireland and their elected representatives at Westminster. It represents a mad opportunistic rush by allies of the abortion lobby to exploit the current absence of the Northern Ireland Assembly to bully the people of Northern Ireland into accepting abortion.”

She pointed out that the amendments had nothing to do with the original purpose of the Bill but have been included and passed despite protests and warnings of the danger and risks of having abortion provided outside the framework of the law.

The appeal from Lord Shinkwin that the amendment will remove protection for, and discriminate against disabled unborn babies, was swept aside. So too were the impassioned pleas of Baroness O’Loan and representatives of the Democratic Unionist Party.

“It is indeed a dark day for democracy when the very institutions which should be its guardians decide it is right and proper to impose their will on the people of Northern Ireland without consultation or consent,” said Ms Parsons.

“We urge all parties in Northern Ireland to do the decent thing and resist this undermining of devolution by Westminster and return to the table before 21st October in order to stop these dangerous abortion amendments. Not to do so, will leave vulnerable women in Northern Ireland at the mercy of the abortion industry which has been waiting for a very long time to get their hands on Northern Ireland,” she added.

Liam Gibson, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children’s (SPUC) Northern Ireland Political Officer told The Catholic Universe: “What has happened today is a disgraceful abuse of power by Westminster. It is outrageous that MPs and peers from England, Scotland and Wales cared so little for the rule of law that an overwhelming majority were prepared to disregard the right of the people of Northern Ireland to maintain legislation which has saved the lives of over 100,000 children since 1967.

“The speed with which this Bill has been imposed has made a mockery of the parliamentary process. There is a complete lack of clarity regarding its provisions and the government has refused to allow time for any proper consideration of the consequences of the decriminalisation of abortion.

“By ramming abortion on demand down our throats Parliament has torn-up the devolution settlement and is treating Northern Ireland as a colony,” he continued.

He pointed out that there are very serious questions about the constitutionality of this legislation which the next Prime Minister will have to answer.

Mr Gibson added: “What is most shocking is that all this has been done in the name of human rights. Abortion is not a human right. It is an act of lethal violence directed at an unborn child and is never justified.”

Michael Robinson, Director of Parliamentary Communications for SPUC told The Catholic Universe: “The UK has one of the most extreme abortion regimes in the world. Since 1967, our laws have permitted the killing of more than 9 million babies and injured countless women physically and psychologically. The Abortion Act has brought only misery and destruction. No society which is genuinely committed to equality and human rights could tolerate such a law. We are now faced with the prospect of an even more extreme situation being imposed on Northern Ireland. The people of Scotland, England and Wales cannot simply stand by and watch as this cruel and unjust legislation is enacted in their name.

Mr Robinson added: “Upon leaving office next week, Theresa May will only be remembered as the Prime Minister who undermined devolution in Northern Ireland and ushered in one of the most ruthless abortion regimes in the world. Anyone who values human life must urge the new Prime Minister to refuse to implement this inhuman and unconstitutional law.”

Picture: The Houses of Parliament. (PA).