Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein conference votes to back changing abortion policy

Sinn Fein's annual Ard Fheis has voted for a shift in the party's position on abortion.

Delegates at the conference in Belfast backed the leadership motion which supports abortions within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

More than 20 of the party's branches called for a vote on conscience on the issue.

The shift brings Sinn Fein's party policy effectively in line with the Republic of Ireland, which last month voted in a referendum to remove the constitutional block to liberalising abortion laws.

The party's leader in Northern Ireland Michelle O'Neill said the change was the "compassionate thing to do".

“During the recent referendum campaign I was struck by the scores of women who came out to tell their personal stories," she said.

“One of the most powerful messages of the Together for Yes campaign was that, ‘a woman in your life, needs your Yes’."

“It is so powerful because it is so true."

Mrs O'Neill said the party had a responsibility to legislate for everybody, and it was possible for "individual members to have their own views on this issue but it is also important that the party has a position".

The party had previously endorsed abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities, or when pregnancy had come as a result of rape of sexual abuse.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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