Right to Life UK has warned that amendments to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill "would potentially lead to significant numbers coming across the border for abortions from the Republic of Ireland," where abortion is not generally available after 12 weeks.
Clare McCarthy, a Right to Life UK spokesperson, said July 8 that Northern Ireland's abortion law "should be a decision for the people of Northern Ireland and their elected representatives" and that it is "inappropriate to bring forward abortion amendment to a Bill which has nothing to do with abortion in any way."
McCarthy noted that "100,000 people in Northern Ireland are alive today because Northern Ireland did not accept the same abortion law that was introduced into Britain in 1967."
The Belfast Telegraph reported July 8 that Labour and Co-operative MP Stella Creasy, who represents a London constituency, had introduced amendments "seeking to extend abortion provision" in Northern Ireland.
Earlier this year Creasy intended to propose an amendment to a draft Domestic Abuse Bill that would give the British parliament jurisdiction over abortion laws throughout the United Kingdom. However, the bill's scope was restricted to England and Wales by the Conservative government.
The Democratic Unionist Party, the largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly and a member of the coalition government in Westminster, is opposed to changing the region's abortion law.
Bills to legalize abortion in cases of fatal fetal abnormality, rape, or incest failed in the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2016.
Northern Irish women have been able to procure free National Health Service abortions in England, Scotland, and Wales since November 2017.
The region's abortion law is also facing a legal challenge from Sarah Ewart, a Belfast woman who traveled to England in 2013 for an abortion after her doctors reportedly told her that her baby would not survive outside of the womb.
In June 2018, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission challenged the region's abortion laws in the UK Supreme Court. While the Supreme Court concluded that Northern Ireland's abortion laws violated human rights law by banning abortion in cases of fatal fetal abnormality, rape, and incest, it threw out the case saying it had not been brought forward by a person who had been wrongfully harmed by the law. It is expected that the court will consider Ewart to have standing to bring the case.
Other amendments to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill would introduce same-sex marriage in the region; block a no-deal Brexit; and restrict prosecution of British soldiers for killings committed during the Troubles.
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