Belfast Telegraph

SDLP to review position on abortion ahead of Irish referendum

The SDLP will hold a special conference to review the party’s position on abortion ahead of the Irish referendum on the controversial issue.

However, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has said there are no plans to change the party’s pro-life stance.

Mr Eastwood, speaking on BBC Northern Ireland’s The View programme, said: “We are not talking about changing the fundamental position, the party position is pro-life but the party membership set out our policies.

“What we are talking about and what is up for discussion is the issue around conscience.

“Can we allow people to have that option of a moral conscience? That is the discussion across every political party in Ireland - so it would be strange for us not to have that discussion.”

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Anti-abortion protesters march through Dublin to campaign for the Eighth Amendment of the constitution to be retained in the referendum (Caroline Quinn/PA)

The SDLP conference will take place ahead of the referendum on abortion laws in the Republic on May 25.

Northern Ireland’s abortion laws are more strict that the rest of the United Kingdom.

Abortions are only allowed if a woman’s life is in danger or if there is a serious risk to her mental health.

Abortions are not allowed in cases of rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormalities.

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