UK government 'must act on Northern Ireland abortion'

Category : UK News
Updated On : October 10, 2018 09:59 PM
By Indian Times Daily

The UK government must "wake up" and decriminalise abortion in Northern Ireland, Tory MPs have said. Anna Soubry, Nicky Morgan and Heidi Allen said Westminster must step in to protect women's human rights.

Northern Ireland's Assembly - which legislates on healthcare - collapsed 21 months ago, and a new poll suggests two-thirds of Northern Ireland citizens would support Westminster intervening. The UK government said it was for Northern Ireland politicians to decide.

Currently abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland unless there is a serious risk to a woman's life or health. Conservative MP Anna Soubry said that she wanted her party "to wake up to this and take responsibility.

"Real people are suffering in a way that is absolutely intolerable in this day and age," she added. Healthcare is a devolved issue - which means the Northern Ireland Assembly forms its own laws.

But it collapsed in January 2017 after a row between the ruling parties, meaning no decisions can currently be made. "There is no Assembly and no likelihood of an Assembly," Ms Soubry said.

This year, a UN committee ruled that Northern Irish abortion laws violated women's human rights. Many in favour of decriminalisation believe that because human rights is not a devolved issue, Westminster has a duty to intervene.

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