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Northern Ireland Assembly votes to reject Westminster abortion laws

The Northern Ireland Assembly votes to reject changes to abortion laws that were drawn up by Westminster.

By Vatican News

The motion, which was by brought by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), passed by 46 votes to 40.

The vote will not change the current laws but the DUP said it showed that the regulations are not backed by the Stormont Assembly.

Welcoming the vote, the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said, “whilst this vote will not directly change the law in Northern Ireland, it does send a strong message that this decision should be made in Northern Ireland, not in Westminster.”

“It can’t be right that this is going to be imposed by Westminster against the wishes of the people of Northern Ireland and their Assembly.”

The new abortion laws drawn up by Westminster came into effect after a vote in March of last year.

The UK Parliament is due to vote later this month on whether to approve or reject the regulations.

In a letter to Members of the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly (MLA), before the vote, the Bishops of Northern Ireland voiced their concern over the "extreme nature" of Westminster's provisions, calling on MLA's to reject “the imposition of abortion legislation which extends to all non-fatal disabilities, including Down's syndrome”

They also made an urgent call “to defend the equal right of children with disabilities to appropriate protection and care both before and after birth, as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child”.

04 June 2020, 11:01