Petition against abortion law reform in Northern Ireland attracts 5,600 signatures
A fresh petition to stop a liberalisation of Northern Ireland's abortion laws has secured over 5,600 signatures since its launch on Friday.
The online petition, set up by Baroness Nuala O'Loan, calls on the Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith and the Assembly to stop what it says is "radical" change being "imposed" here.
From October 22 abortion will be decriminalised and permissible up to 28 weeks with regulation for abortion services in place by April 1, 2020.
At the weekend church leaders voiced "grave concerns" about the proposed new laws, while 800 doctors, midwives and nurses signed a letter to the Secretary of State and Richard Pengelly, the Department of Health's permanent secretary.
Mrs O'Loan said she was delighted with the high number of signatures to her petition.
She said: "This petition went up late on Friday night without any real publicity except through social media, so I am absolutely delighted with the response and I would call on everyone who thinks that the Westminster bill is a retrograde step to sign the petition."
Mrs O'Loan added: "This bill is being forced on us, it was done with no thought about what they (the Westminster Parliament) were doing.
"When I asked the question in the House of Lords about what this clause that they are bringing in means, they couldn't answer and yet they went ahead and voted for it.
"The terrible thing, the really terrible thing, is unless the Assembly goes back now, this will be a done deal."