Following the overwhelming “Yes” vote to repealing Ireland’s pro-life constitution, many abortion advocates have turned their sights to Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. Despite England and Wales adhering to the Abortion Act 1967, which is one of the most liberal abortion laws in Europe, Northern Ireland, via its devolved legislature, outlaws abortion under sections 58 and 59 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861 and sections 25 and 26 of the Criminal Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 1945.
Many argue that Northern Ireland’s widespread support for the unborn is down to a strong religious presence. According to a 2011 Census, some 82.3% of its residents described themselves as Christian compared with 59.4% in England, 53.8% in Scotland and 57.6% in Wales. The majority political party, the Democratic Unionist Party, was founded by Presbyterian minister and statesman, Ian Paisley. Paisley was a staunch conservative and fiercely pro-life.
Termination is completely illegal in Northern Ireland, though exception is made in very specific circumstances whereby the mother’s life is at grave risk. With this in mind, and in light of the historic referendum held over the border in the Republic of Ireland, many campaigners have called for Northern Ireland to follow suit.
— Philip Bromwell (@philipbromwell) May 26, 2018
Now Northern Irish women only have to go over the border if they need an abortion. 😕
It's time for the rest of the UK and Ireland to heap the pressure on the DUP to legalize it in NI.
— Sarah CT (@crazycolours) May 25, 2018
This leaves Northern Ireland a complete outlier, with no same-sex marriage and a near-total abortion ban. Women prosecuted for procuring abortion pills in 2017 and 2016. Women with fatal foetal abnormality diagnoses travelling to Britain. It's unsustainable.
— Naomi O'Leary (@NaomiOhReally) May 25, 2018
In response to these calls, a leading pro-life organization in Northern Ireland, Precious Life, issued a defiant statement on Facebook.
“This has to be the most heartbreaking and the most tragic day in Irish history,” the statement began.
“We have just recieved the sad news that the Republic of Ireland has voted in the Irish Referendum to murder their own children. We ask you to join us for a moment to pray for all the good people of Ireland North and South who sacrificed so much to fight for our Iittle unborn babies- yet unborn. We also ask you to join us in the battle as we prepare to stop the evil BPAS baby killers from changing our pro-life in the 6 counties. The vultures have now set their sights on Northern Ireland.
More pressure is being placed on Northern Ireland over its restrictive abortion law from Clare Murphy, the external affairs director at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.
Ireland’s voters have shown that denying women the right to abortion services in their own country in 2018 is not acceptable, she said.
I've certainly got some thoughts on the sensationalist pro-abortion advocates, high on victory, who are calling for Northern Ireland to "follow suit" immediately. Ordering a sovereign nation to "get in line" with a tide of liberal opinion is distinctly undemocratic.@faithwirenews
— Will Maule (@maule_will) May 26, 2018
Please read the quote from Clare Murphy in today’s Guardian:
“This is a momentous step forward that is long overdue,” Murphy’s statement continued. “For decades, Irish women have been forced to travel hundreds of miles to our clinics in England, often alone, at a huge personal and emotional cost.
The result, once confirmed, means that the Irish government can bring an end to this suffering, and legislate to provide the care women need at home. Now more than ever it is time for the UK government to show the same respect for the women of Northern Ireland.”
Precious Life concluded: “#notinourname#thebattleisnotover”
“I’m waiting to wake up from this nightmare,” one person commented on the post. “Ireland had lost her soul and for the first time in my life I am utterly ashamed to be Irish. This will NEVER be over. We must now galvanise and do whatever it takes not to start child sacrifice.”
“Thank you for your brave and determined fight to save the lives of unborn. It is a very sad day for Ireland. May God bless you in your future work,” another added. “A sad day indeed! Today’s society is so much more self-centered. The struggle for our unborn babies continues. Our poor children!”