The British Parliament exploited a political dispute in Northern Ireland to force the legalization of abortion and same-sex marriage in the region.
Northern Ireland, a country of 1.9 million, is a “devolved region,” meaning it has some autonomy but is subject to the rule of the United Kingdom. But its governing body has been suspended for over two and a half years because of a dispute between the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Fein, the two major parties in the country which have failed to form a government in the country’s parliamentary system.
The British Parliament has retained more power as a result of the dispute and decided to exploit the country’s internal turmoil to pass the Northern Ireland Bill in July with amendments to legalize abortion and same-sex marriage. If the feuding parties did not form a government by October 21st, the bill would take effect.
DUP legislators and allies from smaller parties came together this week in the Northern Ireland assembly for the first time in three years to stop the imposition. But leftist legislators declined to show up, and the assembly did not have enough members present to elect a speaker and thus could not conduct any business.
The changes will allow generally unrestricted abortion, including legal abortion on the grounds of disability and sex.
“This is not progress; it is a retrograde step,” said Nola Leach of Northern Ireland’s Christian Action Research Education (CARE). “The people of Northern Ireland deserve more than this. We continue to believe that both lives matter and our work to be a voice for the voiceless and to argue for a better way that upholds the dignity of both mothers and babies.”
DUP leader Arlene Foster declared, “This is not a day of celebration for the unborn,” and vowed to continue the fight, saying, “This is not the end of the matter as far as this party is concerned, we will take every possible legal option open to us.”