On Tuesday 16th February legislation was introduced to the Northern Ireland Assembly which would remove provisions in the abortion legislation that allow for terminations up to full-term in the case of non-fatal disability. Those non-fatal disabilities could include club foot, cleft palate or Down Syndrome amongst other diagnoses. This Private Member’s Bill brought forward by Paul Givan MLA is called the Severe Fetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill and if passed will remove provision for abortion where there is a substantial risk that “if the child were born, it would suffer from such physical or mental impairment as to be seriously disabled”.
Back in June 2020 our elected representatives in the Northern Ireland Assembly held a debate on this issue and, on a cross-party basis, overwhelmingly rejected abortion up to term on the basis of non-fatal disabilities. This means that most MLAs have at least indicated in principle that they would be supportive of this legislation.
On Tuesday the Moderator of the General Assembly wrote to all of our MLAs (see letter below), encouraging them to support the Severe Fetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill, when they have an opportunity to vote on it for the first time in the next few weeks. I would encourage you to also contact your elected representatives on this matter.
Should you wish to do so you might consider including some of the following points:
- Express your continued opposition to the abortion regime that has been brought into NI
- State your concerns that the current law discriminates against people with disabilities such as Down Syndrome
- Explain that the Bill is important in sending a clear message to society that people with disabilities are equal to others
- Ask them to speak and vote in favour of the Bill at its Second Reading
PCI Press Release regarding the amendment:
Right to Life petition to party leaders to support the bill: