Belfast Telegraph

Foster insists law change on abortions can be halted

Interview: Arlene Foster
Interview: Arlene Foster
Jonathan Bell

By Jonathan Bell

DUP leader Arlene Foster said the liberalisation of the abortion laws in Northern Ireland can not be assumed to be a done deal.

The former First Minister said she was "determined" to restore power-sharing before the autumn legislative deadline, which would give the DUP a chance to block the move.

The Fermanagh MLA said she has been inundated with thousands of emails, letters and petitions calling on her to do all she can to stop the introduction of the law.

She said it was one issue that crossed traditional community lines in Northern Ireland.

"The DUP have consistently advocated a strong pro-life position. We will always speak up for the unborn child," she told the Impartial Reporter newspaper.

Laws passed in Parliament last month will see same-sex marriage introduced and abortion laws liberalised in the new year, should an Executive not be formed by October 21.

Following its passing into law, the DUP leader said the abortion provision was the "most insidious" of all the changes imposed on the Bill as it passed through Parliament.

She described Westminster's intervention as "drastic", saying it "would be unacceptable for Northern Ireland and leave no effective legal framework in place".

"I remain determined to reach an agreement that will restore the Northern Ireland Executive. Therefore there will be no requirement for the implementation of the Northern Ireland Executive Formation Bill," Mrs Foster told her local paper.

"As the party leader, I feel that abortion is one issue where alliances have developed across the main traditions in the community. As I have been indicating, research by the Both Lives Matter campaign highlights that at least 100,000 people are alive in Northern Ireland today who wouldn't have been if the 1967 Act had been extended here.

"We strongly believe that it should be elected representatives from Northern Ireland, taking decisions on issues of life and the protection of the unborn child."

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