The United Kingdom Forced Northern Ireland To Legalize Abortion, And The Irish Are Fighting Back

The United Kingdom Forced Northern Ireland To Legalize Abortion, And The Irish Are Fighting Back

A growing chorus is standing up to resist the pro-abortion agenda the United Kingdom seeks to force upon the people of Northern Ireland.
James Silberman
By

The United States are unique among developed countries in that abortion is one of our defining political issues. Yet while the killing of unborn children is a political non-factor in most western countries, this is not the case in Northern Ireland.

Before the Parliament of the United Kingdom overrode Northern Ireland’s abortion laws in 2019 in violation of the terms of the union, Northern Irish preborn children possessed equality under the law. Since the United Kingdom’s tyrannical imposition of child murder on Northern Ireland and subsequent pushback from the Northern Irish people, the nation has joined the United States among countries whose politics are defined largely by the abortion debate — one that’s rapidly heating up.

The British House of Commons and House of Lords voted in favor of the Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2021 Act last month. It grants Northern Ireland’s secretary of state unilateral authority to implement pro-abortion regulations.

The new law follows the 2019 Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act, which forced legal abortion upon Northern Ireland for the first time. The Executive Formation Act also included more far-reaching mandates for inserting pro-abortion material into public education programs and criminalizing sidewalk counseling and preaching outside abortion clinics.

Despite the passage of the Executive Formation Act, the Northern Irish Legislative Assembly and executive leaders have resisted the implementation of the pro-abortion regulations, resulting in many Northern Irish hospitals lacking the resources and training necessary to kill children in the womb and public education on abortion remaining largely the same.

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Brandon Lewis has expressed his desire to override the rest of the Northern Irish government on abortion if given the power to do so. This means the passage of the Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2021 Act is set to force the pro-abortion agenda of the United Kingdom upon the people of Northern Ireland against their will.

Making the United Kingdom’s Power-Grab Possible

The relationship between the countries of the United Kingdom and the United Kingdom central government is similar to that between the American federal government and the separate states. The U.K. government possesses the authority to legislate certain issues, while other issues are “devolved” to the individual nations.

Until 2019, Northern Ireland maintained control of its own abortion laws despite the passage of the 1967 Abortion Act by the U.K. Parliament. Sections 58 and 59 of Northern Ireland’s Offences Against the Person Act made abortion a felony punishable by up to life in prison (except those to save the life of the mother).

In 2015 and 2016, Northern Ireland came under pressure from domestic pro-abortion groups to legalize abortion in certain cases. Two bills were put forward: one to legalize the murder of unborn children conceived in rape and incest, and a second to legalize the murder of unborn children with disabilities. They were voted down 64-30 and 59-40, respectively, and abortion remained illegal.

The Northern Irish Legislative Assembly is unique in that it requires a power-sharing agreement between parties in order to do business. If one party refuses to govern, the government collapses. When a scandal rocked the Northern Irish government in 2016, Sinn Fein (a left-wing party that typically controls the second-most seats in the Northern Irish Legislative Assembly) refused to nominate a deputy first minister. As a result, the Northern Irish government collapsed in January 2017 and was out of operation for the next three years.

A year into the collapse, the pro-abortion United Nations took action against Northern Ireland. A 2018 United Nations report accused Northern Ireland of violating women’s rights, saying, “Denial of abortion and criminalization of abortion amounts to discrimination against women because it is a denial of a service that only women need.” With that, momentum grew in the United Kingdom for action to override Northern Ireland’s protection of preborn children.

To provide for the continuation of various government services in Northern Ireland during the collapse, the United Kingdom Parliament stepped in. In a 2019 bill, pro-abortion MPs added language forcing abortion and homosexual marriage on Northern Ireland if their government was not operational by October 21 of that year. Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionists were unable to come to an agreement until January 2020, so the protections for unborn children against murder were repealed, and legal abortion came to Northern Ireland.

Reform vs. Repeal

After the passage of the Executive Formation Act, two competing tactics emerged in Northern Ireland: reforming abortion laws within the new abortion regulations versus repealing Section 9 of the Executive Formation Act. Philip Lynn of the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child Northern Ireland wrote that trying to reform legal abortion within the framework of the Executive Formation Act in an attempt to moderate the evil is a futile endeavor:

Reform efforts are doomed to failure … a compromise or ‘reformist’ stance will merely result in weak policies, and supply the abortion industry with a degree of legitimacy it does not currently have in Northern Ireland. Reformist policies will allow abortion to become Northern Ireland’s ‘new normal.’ … However, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children are unambiguous and clear: we are abortion abolitionists. The killing of any child, for any reason, can never be justified. We will not lend our support to reformist efforts to ‘improve’ regulations which are specifically designed to enable the killing of children in their mother’s womb.

Rather than accepting and working within the new abortion regime, thereby strengthening it and making repeal efforts more difficult, Northern Ireland’s leading anti-abortion organizations are working to void the process by which legal abortion was forced on them.

Reflecting the Values of Citizens

On the Monday before the House of Commons committee vote, MP Paul Girvan delivered to Prime Minister Boris Johnson a letter authored by the Center for Bioethical Reform Northern Ireland and signed by more than 250 Irish ministers opposing the bill. Also delivered was a legal notice the group intends to take Northern Ireland’s Secretary of State to court on constitutional grounds if he attempts to unilaterally implement the pro-abortion laws in Northern Ireland.

In a press release, Pastor Clive Johnson of the Center for Bioethical Reform Northern Ireland proclaimed:

The United Kingdom Government’s actions since the summer of 2019 have effectively destroyed the concept of devolution and have set a dangerous precedent for the future. It creates a blueprint for Westminster to strip Stormont of all powers on areas where Northern Ireland differs from England. We are calling on the Secretary of State to withdraw The Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2021 and for the United Kingdom Government to repeal Section 9 of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Act 2019.

The group’s open letter further explains the signees encourage all anti-abortion MPs to walk about of the legislative assembly and the executive, denying quorum and thus collapsing the government once again, “Stormont must fall and control of our laws must be negotiated back to our own soil before it returns. It is time to make the murder of pre-born children a red line that we cannot cross.”

The U.K. government has made clear its intentions of forcing legalized abortion on Northern Ireland, but the Northern Irish are making just as clear their intentions of defying Westminster’s tyranny.

“We are proud to be teaming up with the Northern Ireland office of SPUC to fight back against the Secretary of State’s power grab and take back control of our laws,” Center for Bioethical Reform Northern Ireland’s Mark Lambe said. “This case is about Northern Ireland’s ability to decide its own future and to create laws that reflect the values of the citizens who live there. The Secretary of State has killed the concept of devolution. It is time for it to be restored.”

James Silberman is the communications director for Free the States, an abolitionist lobbying organization working to reform the Christian response to abortion, supporting bills of total and immediate abolition. James is also a host on The Liberator Podcast, where he discusses the principles and applications of immediate abolitionism as opposed to pro-life incrementalism.

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