Catholic Church says it is 'a tragic day'
The Catholic Church has urged voters to leave their elected representatives "in no doubt as to how they feel" after the decriminalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland last night.
In a statement, the Catholic bishops of Northern Ireland also expressed concern at the legalisation of same-sex marriage here.
They described it as "a tragic day for the unborn children who will now never bless our world with their unique and precious lives. It is also a sad day for our local democracy".
"We ask all voters to respond to the forthcoming short consultations on the Westminster legislation that has been introduced today and to leave their representatives in no doubt as to how they feel in these matters," they said.
The bishops added: "We are also concerned at the redefinition of marriage which effectively places the union of two men, or two women, on a par with the marriage relationship between a husband and wife which is open to the procreation of children."
They said that MLAs "still have the power to bring together the Assembly to deal with the introduction of this legislation" and appealed to parties "to address the urgent need to build a society based on respect for the right to life and concern for those most in need".