In the House of Commons it received widespread support, and while it met with stronger opposition in the House of Lords, it nevertheless passed through the upper chamber.
Lord Rogan, a peer of the Ulster Unionist Party, expressed disillusionment with the vote, recalling the importance of devolution for the people of Northern Ireland.
Lord Mackay, a Conservative and a former Lord Chancellor, said that "abortion has been made a devolved subject and therefore the only statutory authority with authority to alter the statues and statutory instruments are the legislative Assembly of Northern Ireland."
Baroness O'Loan noted that it was properly the role of the Northern Ireland Assembly to legislate on abortion law in the region, and said that "it must surely be illogical to ask the Secretary of State to issue guidance, which would be incompatible with that law."
Lord Browne of Belmont, of the DUP, said he thought the move was "an attempt to change the law through guidance" and that "it is proper for those matters to be dealt with by the devolved institutions."
But Lord Steel, a former leader of the Liberal Democrats, supported a move to have the UK parliament directly decriminalize abortion in the region.
And Lord Adonis, a Labour Party member, justified the UK parliament's move by saying that "if Northern Ireland wishes to exercise the prerogatives of devolution, it must operate devolved institutions. If they do not sit and legislate, then we have a duty to legislate in their place, because there is no one else who can do it."
Labour MPs Stella Creasy and Conor McGinn had introduced an amendment in the House of Commons to repeal Northern Irish law on abortion and gay marriage, but it was defeated.
Separately, the Abortion Bill was introduced Oct. 23 by Diana Johnson, MP for Hull North and a member of the Labour Party. The bill, which would apply to England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, would decriminalize elective abortion up to 24 weeks. It is scheduled for a second reading Nov. 23.