Politicians urged to restore NI govt before abortion is legalised

Politicians urged to restore NI govt before abortion is legalised Stormont

Pro-life political party Aontu have been calling people to push their representatives to restore Stormont before Westminster imposes legal abortion in the North of Ireland.

The all-Ireland party organised several meetings this week to raise awareness of the October 21 deadline, after which abortion will be legal.

Leader of the party and former Sinn Féin member, Peadar Toibin, said due to a “political cartel” in the North “knowledge levels” are low regarding what would be allowed under the abortion guidelines being introduced.

Mr Toibin said: “It’s not like the referendum down south when there was a massive amount of debate around every aspect of it, there’s been very little debate in the North with regards this.


“We want to first of all make sure people know what’s coming down the line, we also want people to educate their family and friends.

“We want people to contact their local representatives by phone or in person and let them know in no uncertain terms how angered they are with regards to what’s happening, and demand that their representatives sit in Stormont before the close of business on October 21.”

The abortion guidelines for health professionals will come into effect from midnight on October 21 for an interim period of five months to allow for a regulatory framework to be introduced. According to documents seen by Christian charity CARE NI, the Department of Justice said the absence of a framework from October to March will lead to “obvious difficulties”.

The department said the new regulations, if enacted, will be more liberal than current laws in Great Britain.

Policy Officer Mark Baillie said: “These documents also highlight that the Westminster legislation, which was voted on by MPs who do not represent NI, is a poorly drafted, rushed piece of legislation.

“The failure to conduct any consultation with the people of Northern Ireland on this legislation has directly led to some of these problems. The comments about the five-month regulatory gap are also deeply concerning.”

He added Stormont should be “where big decisions about abortion law in NI should be happening”.

Baroness Nuala O’Loan has also been pushing for the Assembly to reconvene, and has published a petition which more than 23,000 people have signed calling for the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to recall the Assembly before October 21 and for politicians to sit in Stormont.

This week Baroness O’Loan sent an open letter to the Secretary of State once again imploring him to recall the Assembly “given the urgency of the situation”. She highlighted the “legal uncertainties” of the guidelines published for health professionals regarding abortion and how this raises “great concern for the safety of mothers and their unborn babies”.

She warned there would be no specific laws regulating the conduct of individuals who, or institutions which provide abortion services in Northern Ireland between 22 October and the passing of a further new law.