Rome Newsroom, Mar 17, 2021 / 07:00 am America/Denver (CNA).
The Northern Ireland Assembly voted in favor Tuesday of a bill which would restrict abortions on the basis of non-fatal disability.
The Severe Fetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill passed 48 to 12 at its second reading, and will now to move to the next stage of debate.
Introduced in January by Paul Givan, a member of the Democratic Unionist Party, the bill would remove “severe fetal impairment” as an exception to the country’s abortion laws.
Presently, Northern Ireland’s abortion law, which went into effect almost one year ago, allows elective abortions up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. Abortions up to 24 weeks are legal when the mother's physical or mental health is determined to be at risk. Abortions up until the point of birth are legal in cases of severe fetal impairment or fetal abnormality.
Under the current statute, an unborn child who has been diagnosed with a condition such as Down syndrome or cleft palate can be aborted past the 24-week legal limit.