Cross-Party NI Pro-Life Group Seeks Support in Westminster
A former Sinn Féin mayor joined forces with a DUP assembly member and an SDLP councillor to travel to London this week to campaign against changes to Northern Ireland’s abortion laws.
Republican Anne Brolly, who left Sinn Féin two years ago after the party changed its policy to support abortion in cases of “fatal foetal abnormalities”, visited Westminster with a group from Both Lives Matter, which also included the DUP’s Carla Lockhart, MLA for Upper Bann, and Antrim and Newtownabbey SDLP councillor Roisin Lynch. They warned MPs that any move to change Northern Ireland’s laws at Westminster would cripple devolution.
Mrs Brolly described her former party’s changed stance as an “abuse of power to make anyone say or do anything that goes against their conscience”. “All across the north there are many women, of different political persuasions who do not want [abortion imposed by Westminster],” she said, “ and I would strongly urge MPs to listen to the views expressed today.”
Organisers said the visit to London was intended “to make sure the views of many women across Northern Ireland are heard”. They also say that imposing new abortion laws from Westminster “will cripple the devolution settlement”.
Co-founder of Both Lives Matter, Dawn McAvoy, said: “We would urge British MPs to respect the people of Northern Ireland and our elected representatives. Our current law provides proper protection for both the mother and the unborn baby and we’ve found that many women have no desire for that law to be changed.”
The British government has faced pressure to change abortion legislation in Northern Ireland amid the ongoing lack of devolved government. The calls for change intensified after Supreme Court judges said the current laws were incompatible with human rights legislation. Downing Street has maintained its view that the issue should be dealt with by a restored devolved Assembly.
The Irish News. July 17. Belfast Telegraph. July 18.