Friday, June 8, 2018

Movement grows to decriminalize abortion in Northern Ireland. (NI)

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Harry Hutchinson
Labour Party N
orthern Ireland.
The Supreme courts ruling that in cases of fatal fetal abnormality, rape and incest, NI is incompatible with human rights law. This ruling adds more pressure on NI legislators to fall into line with the decisive referendum in the South to decriminalize abortion.
The strength of the mood to extend the rights to woman in NI was felt when over 10 thousand marched though Belfast. Although the march was to campaign for marriage equality, thousands walked carrying pro-choice banners. 
A few days previously women stood at the City hall in Belfast handing out and self administering pregnancy termination pills, thus making a whole mockery of the so-called pro-life movement. 
Polls show that a clear majority of both Protestants and Catholics support abortion in exceptional circumstances. Last year saw the highest number of woman from NI traveling to England to terminate their pregnancy, clearly demonstrating more women exercising their right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.  
Currently in NI, abortion is only permitted if the mothers’ life is at risk, or there is a risk of permanent or serious damage to their mental or physical well being. These exceptional circumstances to allow termination are accepted by the so-called pro life DUP, who prop up Mays Tory Government. The acceptance of these exceptional circumstances demonstrate the contradictions in the so-called pro-life argument. To protect the unborn child, yet allow terminations on some cases, completely undermines the so-called pro-life case, in fact the whole so-called pro-life argument collapses.
People have not accepted the so-called pro-life argument that abortion terminates a life; on the contrary, the majority of people regard abortion rights as a women’s right to choose when to create life.
The churches, particularly the Catholic church has been silenced on this woman rights issue. These conservative bodies, like conservative parties use anti abortion rights to control woman. The Pew research center in the USA found that 8 out of 10 people who were pro-life tended to support the Republican (Conservative) parties; contrastingly 8 out of 10 Pro-choice supporters tended to support the Democrat (Liberal) parties.   
The isolation of the so-called pro-life campaign in NI is clear for all to see. NI is the last European country to decriminalize abortion. What now stands in the way is no legislative Assembly to discuss the issue, in which the DUP have insisted any decision should be made; In the knowledge that a right of veto though the 'Petition of Concern' is at their disposal to halt any decision on extending abortion rights to NI.
The people in NI, like in the South must have the right to decide in a referendum.

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