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

Kill Westminster Bill – not unborn children

A Catholic peer is pleading with Northern Ireland’s MLAs that they “must kill” Westminster’s Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill, “not their future children”.

Lord David Alton of Liverpool is also urging the people of Northern Ireland to assemble the biggest movement in the country’s history to uphold the sanctity of human life by demanding that Stormont reconvenes by 21st October.

He warned that if this does not happen by the October deadline, Westminster will impose one of the most extreme abortion laws in the world on the country.

It follows the decision by MPs and Peers at Westminster on 10th July to vote for amendments tabled to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill which will introduce radical abortion laws in Northern Ireland from 22nd October, unless the Assembly is restored by the deadline.

The new regime will mean abortions will be allowed potentially up to 28 weeks – almost seven months, for any reason including gender selection, disability and socio-economic reasons.

“Northern Ireland’s MLAs must kill this Westminster Bill, not their future children,” Lord Alton told The Catholic Universe.

“The clock is ticking. It’s really urgent. The October deadline is looming. This is literally a matter of life and death,” he continued.

“Fiona Bruce MP and I have travelled to Belfast this week to plead with the DUP and Sinn Fein to reconvene Stormont now.

“It is the only way that this horrific Westminster imposed legislation – which will lead to abortion up to 28 weeks and to untold suffering – can be stopped.”

The peer explained that all the two political parties need to do is convene the Assembly – even on a one-day, temporary basis – and the power to decide on whether, and in what ways, abortion should be legalised in Northern Ireland will return to them.

“Fail to do so and this Westminster dictat becomes the law,” he warned.

His call follows thousands of people taking part in a silent protest walk on Stormont on Friday 6th September and tens of thousands of people taking part in the March For Their Lives in Belfast city centre on Saturday 7th September, both in protest at Westminster’s imposition of an extreme abortion law.

“The demonstrations last weekend and the unprecedented levels of contact with MLAs, MPs and party leaders have all demonstrated that people are outraged by Westminster’s imposition of extreme legislation on Northern Ireland,” the peer said.

He urged the people of Northern Ireland to step up their opposition so that the country’s politicians “get the message that the people know whose fault it will now be if this barbaric law is enacted in October”.

“The people must make it impossible for the two parties not to reconvene before 21st October,” he said.

“This needs to be the biggest movement in Northern Ireland’s history, coming together to uphold the sanctity of human life.”

Lord Alton added: “I repeat, if this does not happen, on 21st October one of the most extreme abortion laws in the world will be imposed on Northern Ireland. This will allow for the ending of unborn lives, on-demand, for any reason, up to 28 weeks.”

Baroness Nuala O’Loan told The Catholic Universe: “There was no consultation, no preparation, no proper process and we do not know what new law providing for regulation of abortion will follow.

“On Friday night up to 20,000 people marched in silent protest with one message ‘We were not asked: They cannot speak’. On Saturday many more rallied in Belfast under the banner ‘Not in my Name’.

“The message is clear: This is wrong, and our NI Assembly politicians are the only ones who can stop this. Responsibility rests with them.”

Lord Alton added that it was vital that those who are stopping Stormont from reconvening grasp what this legislation would mean in practice.

With this law in place, Northern Ireland would go from a nation which has 100,000 people alive today because of its pro-life laws, to a country where a baby in the womb could be aborted right through to seven months.

“This change in law will legalise sex-selective abortion; disability selective-abortion; twin abortions (select one to live and one to die); and babies born alive after an abortion being left to die,” he said.

Picture: Pro-life advocates outside Stormont.