The Stormont parties should refuse to elect a speaker until abortion laws are returned to Northern Ireland

A letter by Mark Lambe of Abolish Abortion NI:

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

The recent letters of Lee Maginnis (‘For the DUP it seems like the protocol outranks the killing the unborn in import,’ May 21, see link below), Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and Carla Lockhart (‘The secretary of state’s move on abortion is a bad day for Northern Ireland,’ May 23, see link below) raise an important question for citizens of Northern Ireland in the wake of the secretary of state’s (SoS) latest interference on abortion.

Who is really in charge of our abortion laws?

Section 9 of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Act is often touted as being the legislative tool that was used by Westminster to radically alter NI’s abortion laws. What many do not realise, however, is that Section 9 has long term implications as well.

Section 9 not only places a legal duty on the SoS to impose CEDAW (Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women) compliant abortion regulations on Northern Ireland but also requires that he change our school curriculum to promote abortion as normal and criminalise the offer of compassionate support.

It also places a duty on him to stop any attempts by Stormont to change any aspect of what he imposes.

The greatest stumbling block to the SoS’s imposition of abortion has been the ministerial code and the executive. With consecutive regulations laid at Westminster he has given himself the power to bypass both ministers and the executive. There is now not a single person in NI who can do anything to stop him.

We must acknowledge the fact that only the management of the SofS’s abortion regulations are a devolved matter. Stormont are powerless to change anything about them. Even if we had 90 pro life MLAs sitting in the assembly they still couldn’t change any aspect of the law on abortion.

We agree with Sir Jeffrey and Mrs Lockhart that Westminster cannot be trusted to protect our pre-born neighbours. That is why we are calling on all parties to refuse to elect a speaker or form an executive until Section 9 has been repealed and control over abortion laws has been returned to the people of NI.

An open letter has been created calling on all party leaders to demand that devolution be respected by demanding that Section 9 is repealed before they return to their Stormont roles.

Members of the public can read the letter at AbolishAbortionNI.org/Save-Stormont and sign it.

Mark Lambe, Abolish Abortion NI, Larne

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