Commenting on the amendments to the Northern Ireland bill, Arlene Foster called efforts to introduce abortion “insidious”.
The House of Commons voted in favour of amendments to the Northern Ireland Bill which would see same-sex marriage and abortion legalised in Northern Ireland within three months (October 21, 2019) if the devolved government remains stalled.
Amendments to the Northern Ireland Bill have been passed by the House of Commons despite the attempts of DUP peers to stall them.
Amnesty International Northern Ireland said on their Twitter page: “MPs have voted overwhelmingly to lift the bans on equal marriage and abortion in Northern Ireland. We’re now within touching distance of human rights history”.
BREAKING: MPs have voted overwhelmingly to lift the bans on equal marriage and abortion in Northern Ireland. We’re now within touching distance of human rights history.
— Amnesty Int'l NI (@AmnestyNI) July 18, 2019
Foster stated the most “insidious” clause in the Northern Ireland Bill referred to abortion adding that the issue should remain devolved as she believes the majority of people in Northern Ireland would not support the change.
“I don’t believe there is any support at all to go to a situation where you would have an abortion up to 28 weeks. There is no way that would pass through the Assembly in Northern Ireland,” she told BBC Northern Ireland’s Sunday Politics programme.
Foster said that she spoke to Sinn Féin Northern leader Michelle O’Neill who told her the party do not support abortion up to 28 weeks.
“Therefore there is a need to deal with that matter and to get a distinctive Northern Ireland voice to deal with what the people here want in relation to their abortion laws,” she said.
Same-Sex Marriage Likely, says Foster
Speaking of the Same-Sex Marriage amendment, Foster suggested that despite and objection from DUP members, the bill was likely to succeed.
“There are not the numbers there for a petition of concern. So, if the Assembly wishes it to go ahead, it will go ahead,” said Ms Foster.
“What I am more concerned about is the fact that we need to put protections in place for our churches and for those of us who believe marriage is between a man and a woman. So, therefore we need to deal with that locally to make sure the appropriate protections are in place,” she added.
On abortion and same-sex marriage, she said, “The best way to deal with this is to get devolution back up and running again so that the people of Northern Ireland can have their own unique voice heard in devolution.”
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