Historic Vote Could Legalise Abortion And Same-Sex Marriage In Northern Ireland

Cornelia Mascio
Luglio 12, 2019

Peers passed the Bill without a vote at Second Reading, and will complete their consideration next week.

The defeat could help MPs to prevent a future prime minister from suspending parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit, a move Boris Johnson has refused to rule out.

May make her promise to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Britons over the weekend, but she she was one of several high profile politicians who chose to sit out of the marriage equality vote.

Decisions on abortion law have historically been the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Assembly, which has a special devolved status from the rest of the United Kingdom government. However, if the parliament is revived by then, it can proceed with a vote on whether to approve or repeal the measures. "So happy for the people of [Northern Ireland]".

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds voiced similar concerns, and accused the British MPs of violating the devolution settlement. "We are not living up to our obligations to protect the rights of the women in Northern Ireland - those one million women are United Kingdom citizens".

The decision by British MPs to extend same-sex marriage and access to abortion to the North of Ireland has been welcomed by political representatives and campaigners across the island.

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While the 1967 Abortion Act broadly legalized the procedure throughout the rest of the UK (England, Scotland and Wales), it has never been extended to Northern Ireland, where an 1861 law still holds.

Abortion has remained illegal in Northern Ireland, except for cases where the woman's health was judged to be "at risk".

"The grave harm and suffering under Northern Ireland's abortion regime are finally coming to an end. No other government in the world would dare to vote over the heads of another government and another country's democratic process to completely ignore the democratic will of the people here".

She said that far from oppressing women, the current protection against abortion "brings freedom".

For years, members of parliament (MPs) from across the political divide have called on the United Kingdom government to change the law in Northern Ireland.

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