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Women's and Equalities committee asking for evidence on Northern Ireland abortion law

6 December 2018

 
Maria Miller MP, Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee

It’s essential pro-lifers respond

The Women's and Equalities Committee has launched an inquiry on abortion law in Northern Ireland.

The Committee, which scrutinises the expenditure, administration and policy of the Government Equalities Office, is asking for written submissions on the experiences of women who have been affected by Northern Ireland's abortion law.

The terms of the inquiry make it clear that it has been set-up to try and put more pressure on the Government to impose abortion on Northern Ireland. The announcement of the inquiry quotes the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which concluded that the rights of women in Northern Ireland were being violated by restrictions on access to abortion, as well as the opinion of four Supreme Court judges that the Province's pro-life laws are incompatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. (This blog by SPUC Northern Ireland officer Liam Gibson explains the background behind CEDAW's interventions.)

Essential pro-lifers respond

"It is therefore essential that as many individuals as possible make written submissions to the inquiry," said Michael Robinson, SPUC Director of Parliamentary Communications. "It is vital the Committee - which does not include a single Northern Irish MP - hears from individuals in opposition to Westminster interfering and imposing abortion on Northern Ireland."

"Please take five minutes to request the Woman and Equalities Committee respect the Devolution Settlement and the lives of unborn children."

How do I respond?

Responses can be made through an online form before Monday 10 December 2018

The Committee is seeking evidence on the following questions:

  • What are the views of the general public, women and medical and legal professionals in Northern Ireland about the law on abortion and whether it should be reformed? How have those views changed over time?
  • What are the experiences of women in Northern Ireland who have been affected by the law on abortion?
  • What are the responsibilities of the UK Government under its international obligations for taking action to reform abortion law in Northern Ireland? How should these be reconciled to the UK’s devolution settlement?

While the experiences of women from Northern Ireland might be of most weight to the committee, these questions can be answered by anyone. 

What points should I make?

There are several angles to approach this from.

  • Devolution
    This is a devolved issue which should be decided by politicians in Northern Ireland, not Westminster.  Not a single member of the Women and Equalities Committee represents a seat in Northern Ireland.
  • Human Rights
    Abortion is not and never can be considered a human right. The call for abortion reform in Northern Ireland distorts actual human rights instruments, which are founded on the equal right of all persons to be protected by the law. 
  • Pro-life laws save lives
    The law on abortion in Northern Ireland has been proven to save lives. Research conducted by Both Lives Matter in 2017 found that an estimated 100,000 individuals are alive today who otherwise would not be had Northern Ireland followed England, Scotland and Wales in adopting the 1967 Abortion Act.
  • Personal stories
    The Committee will be interested in the personal stories of individuals living in Northern Ireland with regard to abortion. If you have a personal story of how the law in Northern Ireland has had a positive, life-saving impact and you feel able to send it to the committee, this would be hugely appreciated.

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