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Pro-life advocates in front of the Stormont Estate in Belfast, October 2019 Pro-life advocates in front of the Stormont Estate in Belfast, October 2019  (AFP or licensors)

Bishops express dismay at abortion legislation for Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Bishops express their sadness and dismay at the British Government’s decision to introduce abortion legislation in Northern Ireland.

By Vatican News

The Bishops of Northern Ireland issued on Tuesday a statement saying they are dismayed at the British Government’s decision “to introduce extreme regulations for the delivery of abortion services in Northern Ireland.”

They note that, at a time when medical staff are doing all they can to save lives during the Coronavirus outbreak, “these regulations (on abortion) do not reflect the overwhelming will of most people in Northern Ireland to protect the life of every human being.”

The Bishops point out that the legislation goes far beyond “what is legally required by the Northern Ireland Act (2019), (‘the Act’), and utterly ignores the views of many citizens – women and men - who responded to the consultation exercise last December.”

They also underline that the implementation of these regulations, “will facilitate one of the most liberal abortion regimes anywhere in the world.”

“From this week onwards”, the Bishops say, “some unborn children will be left completely defenceless. No-one will be able to do anything for them once the decision to abort has finally been made.”

“The life of every mother and her unborn baby matters. These new regulations are predicated on the legal assumption that the unborn child has no rights, unless the child is wanted,” they add.

In the statement, the Bishops point out that there is still time to act, and that “members of the Northern Ireland Assembly are not left entirely devoid of influence.”  The Regulations themselves, they note, “can be debated by the Assembly and insofar as they exceed the strict requirements of the 2019 Act, new Regulations can be enacted by the Assembly.”

The Bishops conclude by saying that they intend to write to their Assembly Members in the coming days and encourage others to do likewise. They also express their commitment “to working with all sectors of society, so that this culture of life becomes a reality for everyone.” 

01 April 2020, 13:26