Belfast Telegraph

It is over to the MLAs now... the lives of our unborn children are in their hands

Dawn McAvoy, Both Lives Matter

By Dawn McAvoy

In July English, Welsh and Scottish MPs at Westminster voted to impose a new abortion regime onto Northern Ireland.

They voted to remove every explicit legal protection from all unborn children until they are capable of being born alive, and introduced no explicit limits on abortion.

This new regime will begin on October 22 unless an Executive is restored on or before October 21.

This is a bad law being implemented through a bad process, which removes vital protections from both women and unborn children in Northern Ireland.

Legal counsel we have taken supports our concern that this reckless legislation could put women in jeopardy. Since July, huge efforts by Both Lives Matter and others culminated last week, on October 10, as Both Lives Matter sent an email to all MLAs asking them to pledge to return to the Assembly before October 22.

Both Lives Matter invited every MLA to be a part of that process and on Thursday 31 MLAs from across three political parties had signed up.

The Assembly has now been called to sit on Monday at 12pm. It is important to emphasise that this will not stop the law changing - an Executive must be re-formed, with the appointment of the ministerial positions agreed by midnight on Monday. Predictably, the sitting of the Assembly has been dismissed as a stunt by some parties and spun in many political directions.

But there is no doubt that this opportunity, however slim, offers a way for this legislation to be prevented and for more appropriate local legislation to be debated in the Assembly.

How individual MLAs and parties respond is a matter for them, but those behind this initiative are genuinely committed to seeking the best for both women and their unborn children.

It is over to the MLAs. The lives of our unborn are in their hands.

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