Belfast Telegraph

Our strict law on terminations has not changed, but we must still hold line to protect unborn

By Ian Paisley

Make no mistake about it, there is an all-out frontal attack on the unborn child.

Given any opportunity, those who have a complete disregard for the rights of the unborn will seize upon it to assert power to destroy that life. We live in a society with little regard for the rights of the unborn.

The events in Parliament this week highlighted just how precarious the Government is to threats and challenges and, subsequently, how opponents of the unborn will take every opportunity to assert their position.

It has rightly been described as disturbing. But, unfortunately, inevitable.

In Northern Ireland we have some additional measures of protection against this outrage but, again, we should read the warnings clearly.

The Assembly has the slimiest of majorities to protect the unborn and, at every opportunity, that majority view is under attack and being chipped away.

I welcome the court judgment this week that preserves decisions on these matters in Northern Ireland for the Assembly.

But with no Executive and no Assembly currently in power, this too is ebbing away.

At Westminster things are stark in this regard.

The pro-abortion lobby is strong, is cross-party and, as demonstrated this week, took advantage of a Government with a thin majority.

Whilst the actions do not change abortion law in Northern Ireland, they indicate a willingness to interfere - if given the opportunity - into devolved matters.

If the same request was made to interfere in other devolved matters you can be assured the same group of MPs would hold their collective nose and say this was not permissible under devolution settlements. The hypocrisy is rank.

At one level little has changed in terms of abortion law other than a commitment to now meet unclear costs, probably as much as £1 million per annum. That had previously been absorbed or met privately. But at a moral and social level, the cost is measured in the destruction of many more unborn lives, and that is abhorrent.

The DUP in Parliament made it clear to the Government that we would not support any changes to Northern Ireland abortion laws as part of any political discussion.

When confronted by a Labour and cross-party pro-abortion amendment to the Queen's Speech we publicly recognised whilst this is a matter for NHS England, we would vote against it. The Government backed this, but as abortion is a matter of conscience, they could not force all their members to hold that line.

Making the commitment to cover costs removed any possibility of this being part of the Queen's Speech, but the impact on the nation's conscience is frankly appalling.

It serves as a warning just how precarious a position we are in on all these matters.

To have been able to hold this line for so long should not be taken for granted. Those who may be quick to criticise or despair ought to help use our collective wisdom to continue the good fight.

Ian Paisley is DUP MP for North Antrim

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