Belfast, Northern Ireland, Nov 7, 2019 / 18:01 pm
Northern Ireland's proposed abortion law drew strong objections from pro-life advocates who said it removes almost all legal protection for unborn babies.
They added that it drops many safeguards provided in other parts of the U.K., allows non-doctors to perform abortions, and allows abortion of disabled babies as far as birth.
"Because of the pro-life laws previously enshrined in law in Northern Ireland, babies in the womb were given legal protection and progressive, compassionate care which we could be proud of," Bernadette Smyth, director of Precious Life, said Nov. 5. "Against the democratic will of the electorate, who had persistently elected pro-life politicians, and against the principles of devolution, all meaningful legal protection for unborn babies and pregnant women has now been stripped away."
Under the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019, passed in July by the British Parliament, the government is obliged to create legal access to abortion in the region by March 31, 2020. The legislation legalizing abortion took effect in part because the Northern Ireland Assembly, which has been suspended nearly three years due to a dispute between the two major governing parties, was not able to convene for business by Oct. 21.