Sinn Féin has welcomed a demand by the British government to advance the introduction of abortion services in Northern Ireland, as the party denounced the opposition of the Democratic unionists to the provisions as “shameful and shameful”.
Northern Ireland Deputy Prime Minister Michelle O’Neill accused the DUP and the Ulster Unionist Party of trying to reverse legislation imposed by Westminster in 2019, which provided for disruption in cases of fatal fetal anomalies.
“This is insane that must stop. Women have the right to this. He must surrender, ”said the Sinn Féin leader in Stormont.
She spoke after Brandon Lewis, Northern Ireland’s secretary, wrote to Prime Minister Paul Givan and O’Neill to tell them that soon “I would have no choice but to take further action to ensure that women and girls have access. to abortion services as decided by parliament, and to what they are entitled ”.
O’Neill said: “I’m glad to have the correspondence from Brandon Lewis that they will move if this lockdown doesn’t end, they will move in to commission services. It must happen a long time ago and it must happen now. “
Abortion was decriminalized in Northern Ireland in October 2019 after a vote in Westminster and a challenge by the Supreme Court of laws forcing women with babies with fatal fetal anomalies to travel across the Irish Sea to undergo abortions.
There were 22 terminations of pregnancy in Northern Ireland hospitals during 2019-20, according to the local health department. Services are not widely available, which means that some women seeking an abortion after 10 weeks of pregnancy have had to travel to Britain for legally permitted interruptions.
In his letter, Lewis said he would act if it became clear to him that the Northern Ireland health department or its governing executive were not making sufficient progress or were intending to block the introduction of services.
The Stormont executive has been formally ordered to commission the services before the end of March 2022.
“It is really embarrassing and embarrassing that at this stage, more than a year after it was enacted, the DUP and the Ulster Unionist Party have not been able to commission or block the services that are really in charge of providing that care to women when necessary, “O’Neill said.
Two weeks ago, Lewis said he was “enormously disappointed” that the Northern Ireland executive and health department “continued to deliberately neglect the welfare and rights of women and girls in Northern Ireland.”
There has been criticism of Sinn Féin also for abstaining in a committee stage vote on an amendment to the law proposed by the DUP to ensure there is no room for future legislation allowing abortions in the case of non-fatal fetal anomalies.
Sinn Féin said the amendment, tabled by Givan, was a “deviation” designed to appeal to DUP anti-abortion voters. Sinn Féin said it had no choice but to abstain as it opposes abortion for pregnancies with non-fatal abnormalities and this is the position it took when abortion was legislated in the Republic of Ireland, where it is the main opposition party.
Previously, abortions were allowed in Northern Ireland only if a woman’s life was at risk or if she was at risk of permanent damage to her physical or mental health.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism