Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein set to vote at Ard Fheis on changing abortion stance

Sinn Fein is set to vote on changing the party's stance on abortion.

The BBC reports a motion will be put forward to allow abortions in cases where woman's life, health or mental health is "at serious risk or in grave danger" or in cases involving a fatal foetal abnormality, rape or sexual abuse.

Michelle O'Neill will reportedly back the motion, with a vote taking place at the conference.

This latest motion is seen as a liberalisation of policy due to the reference to serious risk to a woman's life, health or mental health.

At the party's Ard Fheis in 2015 the party changed its policy to support abortion in limited circumstances.

The Republic is set to vote on repealing the 8th amendment of the Irish Constitution - which currently bans abortion in most circumstances - in May or June of 2018.

Speaking at the conference on Friday evening, Sinn Fein's leader in Northern Ireland Michelle O'Neill said her party had "invested hugely in the peace process and the political institutions for the benefit of everyone and we remain committed to making the institutions work".

"I want to lead Sinn Féin back into a new Executive, which represents genuine equal partnership government," she said.

Mrs O'Neill reiterated her party's focus on equality issues and its commitment to an Irish language act.

"A key challenge for us all is to confront sectarianism and the causes which segregate our communities still – 20 years on from the Good Friday Agreement," she said.

"The DUP’s denial of rights for all citizens, and the failure to fully implement previous political agreements, the contempt shown for Irish national identity and culture combined with the RHI scandal to tip us into the ongoing political crisis.

"These rights include marriage equality, language rights, a bill of rights and the rights to an inquest in legacy cases.

"An Irish language act has both practical and symbolic importance in recognising and respecting Irish national identity."

Also speaking at the event was Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald.

She said the party was interested in entering government in the Republic, but that they would not enter government "just to make up the numbers".

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