The Northern Ireland Assembly’s vote to reject the imposition of abortion legislation which extends to abortion up to birth for all non-fatal disabilities, including Down Syndrome, sends a “strong message” to Westminster that this is a devolved matter, the Catholic bishops of England and Wales have said.
Earlier this week, the Northern Ireland Assembly voted to pass a motion to reject changes to abortion laws in the province that were drawn up by Westminster.
The motion, brought by the DUP, passed by 46 votes to 40. The party believes Stormont should be able to create new legislation.
The UK Parliament is due to vote later this month on whether to approve or reject the regulations.
A spokesperson for the Department for Social Justice of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said: “We welcome the vote in the Northern Ireland Assembly to oppose the UK Government’s abortion regulations which are due to be approved in Westminster.
“Whilst this vote will not directly change the law in Northern Ireland, it does send a strong message that this decision should be made in Northern Ireland, not in Westminster.
“It can’t be right that this is going to be imposed by Westminster against the wishes of the people of Northern Ireland and their Assembly.”
Picture: Archive photo, dated 6th September 2019, shows pro-lifers holding a vigil outside Stormont against abortion being imposed in Northern Ireland. (Rebecca Black/PA).