Reactionary forces in Northern Ireland block abortion reform

Reactionary forces in Northern Ireland block abortion reform

An alliance of evangelical Protestants, the Catholic church and a majority of Northern Ireland’s  Assembly’s politicians has prevented the UK Abortion Act of 1967 from being extended to the region.

According to the Guardian, Northern Ireland’s first female leader Arlene Foster, above, vowed to maintain the Democratic Unionist party’s opposition to any reform of the province’s notoriously strict abortion laws.

After being elected DUP leader unopposed, Foster told the Guardian:

I would not want abortion to be as freely available here as it is in England and don’t support the extension of the 1967 act.

But she conceded the Northern Ireland executive, which she will co-lead with Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, will have to carefully consider a landmark judgment in which the high court ruled that denying abortions to women who had become pregnant through rape was a breach of British and European human rights laws.

Despite her statement in defence of the existing law, Foster’s acknowledgement of the November court ruling suggests politicians in Northern Ireland are also preparing for judicial decisions that would force the Stormont assembly’s hand and potentially introduce some liberalisation.

Commenting on the ruling, Foster said:

It is impossible not to be moved by some couples’ heartbreaking experiences. Many of the cases are extremely complex, and increasingly so as medical practice advances. Along with executive colleagues I will be taking time to consider carefully Mr Justice Horner’s judgment.

Foster declined to answer specific questions on whether she would accept limited exceptions to the near-total ban on abortion. She would not say whether she would support – as some have campaigned for – exceptions to be introduced for women who became pregnant through rape or incest, and those whose baby had fatal foetal abnormalities.

Foster pointed out that terminations did take place in certain circumstances and expressed sympathy for women with crisis pregnancies.

I recognise this is a deeply personal issue for people, which deserves to be treated with the utmost sensitivity and compassion. The legal position in Northern Ireland is often misunderstood, and many don’t appreciate it can permit abortion when the woman’s physical or mental health is affected.

The Stormont assembly has the lowest level of female representatives out of the devolved parliaments, and only a fifth of members supports a relaxation of the near-total ban on abortions.

Last year one of Foster’s DUP colleagues, Alastair Ross, attempted to further tighten the ban. Ross tabled a motion to ban private clinics such as Marie Stopes from offering non-medical terminations for women pregnant up to nine weeks. The combined votes of Sinn Féin, the Alliance party, the Greens and liberal unionist party N21 vetoed the DUP member’s proposal.

Eileen Calder, co-founder of the Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Centre in Belfast, said that if abortion were permitted on the grounds of rape it could lead to situations where innocent men faced false rape allegations.

I think it is totally wrong to say that perhaps we should allow for terminations on the grounds of rape only. Many women in unwanted and crisis pregnancies might go to their GP or local hospital and say they were raped and demand an abortion in those circumstances.

In these cases the onus would be on medics to then report a crime to the Police Service of Northern Ireland, which in turn could lead to innocent men who get women pregnant after consensual sex being arrested, questioned and possibly charged over a crime they did not commit.

Accusing the Northern Ireland assembly of “political cowardice”, Calder added that:

Only the extension of the 1967 act and full equal rights for women like they enjoy in the rest of the UK was the way forward.

Hat tip: Peter Sykes

22 responses to “Reactionary forces in Northern Ireland block abortion reform”

  1. L.Long says:

    So they hate filled women hating bigoted aholes? Show me something I don’t know about rabid xtians! Anyone who claims xtians are so much nicer than muslins have never lived where the xtians hold the political power.

  2. AgentCormac says:

    Ah well, at least wishing to remain in the Dark Ages is one thing both sets of xtian eejits can actually agree on in Norn Iron.

  3. Cali Ron says:

    “I think it is totally wrong to say that perhaps we should allow for terminations on the grounds of rape only. Many women in unwanted and crisis pregnancies might go to their GP or local hospital and say they were raped and demand an abortion in those circumstances.” So she would rather force women to have babies conceived from rape than risk a man being falsely accused. That’s christian compassion for you. You women victims must suffer the rest of your life just to make sure some man isn’t falsely accuse of rape.

    AC: All those wishing to remain in the dark ages like this bitch should all be blessed with the plagues, illness and violence of the dark ages. All that suffering would surely make them “closer to god”.

  4. jay says:

    There is a problem if it’s strictly limited to rape, there almost certainly will be false accusations. The solution is to not require rape to be part of the equation.

  5. Gerald says:

    The true face of christian bigotry is in plain view when the two warring enemies, who murdered each other’s children for centuries because of bitter sectarian differences, see fit to collaborate to deny women the fundamental right to decide about themselves for themselves. My contempt for them is boundless and more importantly wholly justified. Arelene Foster is a disgrace. Ad hominem I know but a face like that surely qualifies her for office as a catholic priest, a role she is far better suited than that of an elected public servant who should be taking care of the interests of those who put her in a position of power.

  6. Bob says:

    I was so pleased to see this report – abortion is a holocaust.

    Any swear words in this post have been inserted by Mr Duke.

  7. barriejohn says:

    I only have two questions for these idiots:

    (a) Don’t miscarriages make their god a murderer?

    (b) If all those billions of foetuses and fertilized eggs that have not progressed to full development are “real people”, what form do they take in heaven?

  8. Angela_K says:

    Bob, to suggest abortion is a holocaust is very offensive to the Jews, the disabled, the mentally ill, Atheists, Gypsies etc who were slaughtered by the Nazis.

  9. Bob says:

    @ Angela_K: the abortion holocaust is very offensive God.

    Any swear words have been inserted by Mr Duke.

  10. barriejohn says:

    Someone linked to this the other day:

    No comment necessary for those with any intelligence.

  11. Vanity Unfair says:

    To Bob:
    I think “very offensive God” is a good description.

  12. Brummie says:

    I am waiting for Bob to put up a strong logical argument against all the points raised on this site. Then I will have some respect for him. No flim-flam, no smoke and mirrors, no snake oil. Logic, reason and EVIDENCE please Bob.

  13. Angela_K says:

    @Brummie, lots of us have been trying for a years but logic, reason and evidence are anathema to the likes of Bob. All one has to do is copy Bob by shutting down the brain and just “believe”, or better: close eyes, fingers in ears and shout la la la.

  14. Vanity Unfair says:

    To Bob:
    This is written after thinking, consulting my records and updating. I admit that my previous comment was cheap but sometimes temptation is irresistible. The citations are from reputable sources; your reasoned comments would be appreciated.

    “I was so pleased to see this report – abortion is a holocaust.”

    This is, presumably, morally worse than the natural state of affairs ordained by your deity. For obvious reasons precise statistics are impossible to compile but the following will give some impression of the sanctity in which your deity holds human procreation and the perfection of the design.
    In nature, 50 percent of all fertilized eggs are lost before a woman’s missed menses.
    Early pregnancy loss accounts for over 50,000 admissions in the UK annually.
    Miscarriage occurs in 15-20% of recognised pregnancies.
    85% of spontaneous miscarriages occur in the first trimester.
    About 20 to 30% of women with confirmed pregnancies bleed during the first 20 wk of pregnancy; half of these women spontaneously abort. Thus, incidence of spontaneous abortion is about 10 to 15% in confirmed pregnancies. Incidence in all pregnancies is probably higher because some very early abortions are mistaken for a late menstrual period.
    Stillbirth is more common than many people think. There are around 4,000 stillbirths every year in the UK and 1 in every 200 births ends in a stillbirth.
    Stillbirth occurs in about 1 in 160 pregnancies. The majority of stillbirths happen before labor, whereas a small percentage occurs during labor and delivery.

  15. Barry Duke says:

    @ Vanity Unfair: You are wasting you time reacting to Bob Hutton’s drivel. He NEVER responds to logical rebuttals. There are breezeblocks out there with more intelligence than this stunted little bobolyne. He is also a cumberworld and dalcop, a cream-faced loon and fopdoodle, a fustylugs, a gnashgab, a gobermouch and a lubberwort. Also a rakefire and a saddle-goose.

    You can find some other apt old English words that apply to this Jesus-addled buffoon here.

    Sard off, Bob.

  16. barriejohn says:

    Barry: Many thanks for those wonderful words with which to expand our vocabulary!

    Vanity Unfair: If the religious are to be believed, then heaven will be absolutely stuffed with billions of foetuses, as well as infants who didn’t know right from wrong. What form will they take; what will they talk about; what memories would they have; how could they possibly praise God for his salvation for all eternity if they have never committed “sins” nor experienced forgiveness? The answers to these and many other questions will never be revealed because the religious and their silly “holy writings” never deal with them, and neatly sidestep anything that challenges their childish assumptions. As Barry says, you’re wasting your time – but that was a very enlightening post anyway, and needs to be saved!

  17. barriejohn says:

    PS I wonder whether the learned Dr Johnson ever came across any of those terms?

  18. Vanity Unfair says:

    To Barry and barriejohn:
    Yes, I realise that Bob will probably not respond but I believe that it is only polite to give him a chance and, as I have admitted, my first reaction was a cheap jibe at his inadvertent mistake. For that reason I thought I owed a more reasoned reply.
    I have also submitted the reply to his own blog whence I expect it to be removed shortly. At that point he will have used all his allowance as far as I am concerned. After that, if I remember him at all, I shall ignore his interventions.
    The words are not included by the learned doctor; well, not the ones for which I have looked.
    Most seem to be in the OED. If you have a UK library card you can probably gain free entry.
    Contrafibularity is not included but Bob’s-a-dying is.

  19. Barry Duke says:

    @ BarrieJohn, the late lamented Kenneth Williams, in his role of Rambling Sid Rumpo, has a few other wonderful words for the likes of Bob Hutton: a Woggler’s Moulie, a Taddle Groper, a Nurker, a Russet-Banger, a Bogle Clencher and my favourite, a Gruntfuttock.

  20. barriejohn says:

    Barry: I wonder whether anyone has ever trolled along and vada’d his dolly old eek?