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Cautious welcome for Northern Ireland abortion law statement

19 July 2007

Cautious welcome for Northern Ireland abortion law statement Belfast, 19 July - Pro-life campaigners in Northern Ireland have given a cautious welcome to the statement by the British government that it has no plans to introduce liberal abortion to the Province but the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children is warning that some MPs in Britain are still determined to extend the Abortion Act. Betty Gibson, Chairwoman of SPUC in Northern Ireland, said: "While Paul Goggins, the Minister of State, has told MPs that the government believes the devolved Assembly should decide the issue of abortion, he has made it clear that this would only happen when the Assembly has assumed responsibility for criminal justice matters. "It could be some time yet before this happens," said Mrs Gibson, "and even then there is no guarantee that the government won't change its position. Before the Assembly was set up the then Secretary of State, Mo Mowlam, said responsibility for abortion legislation would be devolved but then changed her mind. Until the power to decide abortion legislation rests with the Assembly, pro-abortion MPs who do not represent anyone in Northern Ireland will be able to impose the Abortion Act on the people here. "At present the pro-abortion position dominates the House of Commons. This means that any attempt to modify the Abortion Act is likely to result in many more abortions. Some MPs have already declared their intention to push for the extension of the Act to Northern Ireland when the Human Tissue and Embryos Bill is debated later this year. If the violence of the Troubles is not to be replaced by the violence of abortion then it is vitally important that members of the public write to Gordon Brown urging him not to allow any liberalisation of the Abortion Act," said Mrs Gibson.

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