On Monday afternoon, MPs will attempt to use a Government bill, the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill to move amendments , to impose abortion on Northern Ireland.
The amendments seek to force the Government to comply with what they term “human rights obligations” to extend abortion access to Northern Ireland. One of the MPs to push for an amendment in this regard is Stella Creasy. Last year Ms Creasy and Connor McGinn tried unsuccessfully to pass an amendment which would have abolished sections in the the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act, applicable in Northern Ireland, which makes obtaining or helping somebody obtain an abortion a criminal offence. Had they been successful, this amendment would have brought in abortion in Northern Ireland and also make abortion completely legal in England and Wales (not requiring any of the conditions of the Abortion Act to be met before approval of an abortion).
One amendment led by Jeremy Corbyn requires the Secretary of State to lay a statutory instrument before the House by October 2019 in order that “The Secretary of State may by regulations provide for services to meet the reproductive rights of women in Northern Ireland to be charged to the Northern Ireland Consolidated Fund.” We are unsure what these reproductive rights would include but strongly believe that this does have to do with provision of abortion services.
A further related amendment by Stella Creasy says “In accordance with the requirements of section 26 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 regarding international obligations, the Secretary of State must make regulations by statutory instrument to give effect to the recommendations of the Report of the Inquiry concerning the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland under article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. (2) Regulations under this section must come into force by 21 October 2019” Ms Creasy is referring to this UN report which accuses the Government of violating women’s human rights and recommends that the Government “Repeal sections 58 and 59 of the Offences against the Person Act, 1861 so that no criminal charges can be brought against women and girls who undergo abortion or against qualified health care professionals and all others who provide and assist in the abortion”. As we indicated earlier, if this amendment by Ms Creasy is successful it would remove abortion from criminal law in both Northern Ireland and England and Wales this year.
Removing abortion from the framework of the law could actually leave women at risk of exploitation and abuse because of the removal of necessary checks and the need for approval of abortions. Abortion has been used to hide the crimes of sex abusers/groomers as we see below. This is happening when there are laws on abortion. Imagine what would happen if we had no laws on abortion and therefore no monitoring and detecting of cases like these.
- Telford – 15-year-old was raped by two men and forced to have three abortions
- Newcastle – Several groomed girls were abused and forced to have abortions
- Oxford – 12-year-old girl was repeatedly raped by a group of men and forced to have a DIY abortion
- Rochdale – Groomed 13-year-old girl was made pregnant by her abuser and forced to have an abortion
- Rotherham – 14-year-old girl became pregnant by her abuser who forced her to have an abortion after her parents said they would have a paternity test done to prosecute the rapist
- Ayrshire – 12-year-old girl was forced to have an abortion after being raped seven times
URGENT ACTION NEEDED
We need you to email or call your MP urgently to ask them to be present on Monday and Tuesday in the House of Commons and to stand against this attempt to bring in abortion on demand both in Northern Ireland and England and Wales. To find out who your MP is and their contact details just click on this link . Thank you for helping us fight for the right to life of unborn children and for greater provision of support to their mothers.