Abortion, gay marriage may be imposed on N Ireland. Fury ensues.

Abortion, gay marriage may be imposed on N Ireland. Fury ensues. July 10, 2019

IF THE devolved Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont is not restored by October 21, the UK government may force the province to bring its laws on abortion and same-sex unions into line with legislation in the rest of the UK.

Image via YouTube

This week parliament voted 332-99 on Labour MP Stella Creasy’s amendment to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill to legalise abortion in Northern Ireland. British MPs also voted 383-73 in favour of an amendment by Labour MP Conor McGinn to legalise homosexual marriage in the region.

Abortion is allowed in the United Kingdom up to 24 weeks but is illegal in Northern Ireland, allowed “only when the mother’s life is at risk” or if there is risk of “permanent, serious damage to her mental or physical health.”

With MPs approving the bill’s amendments the British government is now “obliged” to pass laws legalising abortion and gay marriage if the Northern Ireland Office does not call a Stormont election before October 21.

After the vote, Creasy tweeted:

Thank you to everyone who today stood up for equality in Northern Ireland – whether for same-sex marriage or abortion, today we have said everyone in the UK deserves to be treated as an equal. There’s a road to go yet but today a big step forward.

Both votes were also hailed by rights groups. Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland director, Patrick Corrigan, said the equal marriage decision was “a day for the history books”. Marie Stopes UK, which campaigns on access to abortion, said the Creasy amendment marked “a historic day for women’s rights”.

Both the abortion amendment and the gay marriage amendment include the condition that if Westminster passes such laws, a future Northern Ireland Assembly could overturn or amend them.

Image via Flickr

Clare McCarthy, above, of Right To Life UK condemned Tuesday’s Westminster vote as:

An unconstitutional and disrespectful attempt to override devolution in Northern Ireland and to attempt to impose abortion on demand on the Northern Irish people. It is totally constitutionally inappropriate to bring forward abortion amendments to a Bill which has nothing to do with abortion in any way, to legislate on such a sensitive matter.

The law on this issue should be a decision for the people of Northern Ireland and their elected representatives, not for MPs in Westminster to decide.

Meanwhile, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh and Bishop Noel Treanor of Down and Connor strongly condemned the abortion amendment last weekend. They urged Catholics and “pro-life” citizens to contact members of Parliament to object to the amendments before Tuesday’s vote.

Martin said:

There is something particularly cynical … in taking advantage of the present political crisis to remove the right to life of the most vulnerable of our people; the unborn baby. The common good cannot be served in this way.

Democratic Unionist Party deputy leader Nigel Dodds denounced the decision by Labour to add amendments to the bill as “deeply unhelpful” to the talks at Stormont, and said it was wrong for MPs at Westminster to try to take control of such issues in Northern Ireland.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • WallofSleep

    “sex-sex unions”

    I was in a relationship like that once. It was the only thing we did well together.

  • sweeks

    Off-topic: I nearly sprayed coffee through my nose when I looked at your avatar!

  • Ann Kah

    Abortion and same-sex marriage are discretionary. Nobody is “imposing” them on anybody. If you don’t want an abortion, don’t have one. And as to marriage, no stranger gets to choose who you marry when you marry in a legal* heterosexual union. Nobody but the parties concerned gets a say in the matter, even though your parents may try. So why should anybody get a say in any other kind of marriage?

    * legal as to (1) age of the participants, and (2) current marriageable status.

  • WallofSleep

    I snagged it from a YouTube channel that seems to have gone offline. Appropriate, no?

  • Graham Martin-Royle

    I just wonder how this will affect the support the DUP gives to the tories.

  • rtgmath

    No one is going to force anyone to marry someone of the same sex, nor to get an abortion. Simply put, “imposed” is a nasty, irresponsible, and deceptive word to use. But then, you knew that, right?

    If someone passes a law to give people civil rights that you don’t want to use yourself, does that make it wrong? No. You don’t need a law making it illegal to discriminate against the color of your skin, since you are already white. People who are forbidden to marry whom they love because of gender and religious bias need protection from people like you and governments controlled by people like you who are all too willing to deny civil, political, and economic rights to those they wish to persecute. Likewise, some women need the ability to have an abortion. What they don’t need is for someone like you to enslave them to a fetus and make them less able to make decisions about their own body for themselves.

    Why, I am pretty sure that you would not want someone raping you to have more power to force you to carry his child than you would have to deny him.

    Oh wait. You are a man. So of course you want to tell women what they can or cannot do with their bodies. Figures you side with the rapists.

    You may not like this comment. I expect you to delete it. But it describes your position all the same.

  • sweeks
  • Stephen Mynett

    “Simply put, “imposed” is a nasty, irresponsible, and deceptive word to use.”

    No, in this case it is correct. The devolved Stormont assembly proved incapable of governing Northern Ireland and so power returned to the British parliament. Which is good news as the two main bigoted parties in Northern Ireland would not have agreed to either abortion or same sex marriages and this was about the only way the people of NI would get this justice. Just because something has been imposed does not make it bad.

    I am intrigued rtgmath as to whom you were aiming your comment at, especially the end: “You may not like this comment. I expect you to delete it. But it describes your position all the same.” It certainly does not describe the position of Barry Duke, the Freethinker editor, nor is it in line with the majority of regular posters here. We are atheists who oppose the church trying to impose its rules on anyone but most of us would celebrate the UK parliament imposing a bit of justice on the Stormont government.

  • B.A.

    I am literally LOL at this! This is great;love it.

  • rubaxter

    What, the billions of pounds the Tories used to bri&#8203be the DUP may have just scre&#8203wed the DUP, anyway?!

    Will the shade of Ian Paisley have to rise from He&#8203ll to Scour the Shire?

    Seems to me that everything the Tories touch goes to sh&#8203ite. They deserve to join their erstwhile vict&#8203ims, the Lib Dems, in the hos&#8203pice.

  • rubaxter

    Wonder how it will affect the outright br&#8203ibes the Tories pay the DUP to stay on-side?

  • barriejohn

    I think you’re a bit confused. Reread the article. And these measures have most definitely been “imposed” on the reactionary dinosaurs of NI (not that they are likely to have much effect in the long run).

  • barriejohn

    This just seems to be an attempt by the frustrated UK government to force the two main NI parties to get back together at Stormont again. Even if they miss the October deadline, the legislation will most likely be reversed when they do eventually take their places in the assembly. We shall see, but having had a lot of experience of NI religious bigots I’m not hopeful.

  • Raging Bee

    Well, if they don’t like UK law, they could always restart the Troubles and try to secede…again…

  • epeeist

    It is the Unionist parties who are against this, the Nationalist parties are in favour.

  • epeeist

    In other news, younger people don’t much care about religion anyway – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/11/uk-secularism-on-rise-as-more-than-half-say-they-have-no-religion

  • Eric Jameson

    Stella Creasey is heading for eternal burning in the Lake of Fire.

  • Broga

    Archbishop Eamon Martin dribbles out the well worn platitudes: “There is something particularly cynical in taking advantage of the present political crisis etc. etc.”

    Did he say there was something “particularly cynical” when his church was conspiring to protect his paedophile priests and allowing them to abuse again. His opinion counts for nothing. What does this man know of women’s problems, or marriages or partnerships, or any of the other complex delights and problems of ordinary life.

  • Broga

    The religious mind doesn’t work like that, Ann. They have decided how you, I or anyone else must behave as they have decided. Your beliefs, life, circumstances must be put aside and even though they know nothing of them, they insist you must be subject to their religious jurisdiction. You, on the other hand, must not say how they should live.

  • Sophotroph

    Correct. This is the second time I’ve seen Barry choose his headline fairly strangely. It’s a loaded term, and it makes good news that we should be pround of sound like something nefarious.

  • barriejohn

    The Republicans are all supposed to be Catholic, but my guess is that a great many of them are atheists at heart. They are certainly out of step with the Catholic Church on many issues. It’s the Protestants who have the bigoted religious views, and who always present the conflict between North and South as a religious struggle (“No Popery”), which it is not.

  • rubaxter

    Apply appropriate dose of Benign Neglect and the church will eventually go away.

  • rubaxter

    Well, if Heaven has Ian Paisley and his DUP rabble as the house band …

  • 24CaratHooligan

    “attempt to impose abortion on demand” is it really possible to IMPOSE any thing ON DEMAND? The whole phrase “on demand” kind of implies that its a personal choice. Just shows you what they really mean – I CAN’T STAND IT WHEN PEOPLE WANT DIFFERENT THINGS TO ME!!!!

  • 24CaratHooligan

    Ah it’s OK, they’ll just shake the magic money tree and give the proceeds to whoever supports them

  • MR
  • Voidhawk

    I like the capitalisation of Lake of Fire. I imagine that, as a proper noun, it has its own location tag on Google Maps, there’s a ‘Lake of Fire welcomes careful sinners’ sign at the entrance, and there’s a dispute over whether it should fall under the Pandemonium District Council or be governed by its own Parish Council.

  • Ann Kah

    Oh, silly me, using logic with the godbots.

  • rubaxter

    Wow, that 350 million pound a week Brexit Bonus is gonna dry up pretty soon if they keep that up!

    Has someone told BoJo?!

  • Jim Jones

    Someone switched her hemorrhoid cream for Guatemalan Insanity Pepper juice?

  • (((J_Enigma32)))

    Justice = eternal punishment for improving people’s lives. Yep, that sounds like a god I’m rushing to worship. Where do I sign up?

  • Li Tempo

    Ann K, well, except where the law IMPOSES a one-child policy as in China, but never mind those 1.386 billion people, right??? Your assertion is ONLY half the argument. Gay marriage is culturally-defining, while abortion is not. It is one thing to prevent an aboriton underground, yet I’ve NEVER heard of “underground gay marriages”–at least in the US where I live–prior to Ogrefell vs. Hodges.

  • Li Tempo

    Burka, the “religious mind”??? What is that???

    Generalization fallacy.

  • Li Tempo

    Be wary of polls. Any of them. Have you learned ANYTHING from the disaster of 2016???

  • MR

    True. But I think there’s a difference between showing trends and predicting specific outcomes. Particularly political outcomes, especially when you have actors, some with nefarious intent, doing everything they can to influence the outcome.