SDLP will oppose abortion law amendment

Party remains ‘robustly pro-life’

A senior member of the SDLP leadership team has strongly affirmed the party’s pro-life credentials as the Northern Ireland Executive prepares to consider changes to the region’s abortion laws.

Alban Maginness, MLA, the party’s Justice Spokesperson told The Irish Catholic: “The SDLP has been robustly pro-life and I believe it will maintain that position even though there are elements outside the party, including a very powerful media, who would like the party to change its position.”

In December the Executive launched a consultation on changing the abortion law in regard to fatal foetal abnormalities.

A Department of Justice spokesperson told this newspaper: “ A draft consultation paper on the criminal law has been prepared. The paper will offer proposals to allow for abortion in cases of lethal foetal abnormality, and will also look at issues surrounding termination for pregnancies as a result of sexual crime.”

She added the paper was being considered by the Health Minister, Edwin Poots  and the intention was to present it to the Assembly’s Justice Committee “as soon as possible”.

In an interview for this newspaper Mr Maginness said he could never abstain on a vote in the Assembly proposing abortion.

“I would have to oppose it and would do so unapologetically,” he said.