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Alban Maginness

Stormont politicians have the chance to right a wrong on abortion in Northern Ireland

Alban Maginness


Amendment will prohibit termination on grounds of disability

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Right: all politicians should be backing Paul Givan’s Bill

Right: all politicians should be backing Paul Givan’s Bill

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Right: all politicians should be backing Paul Givan’s Bill

Last week, Paul Givan MLA, introduced his Severe Foetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill, onto the floor of the Assembly. It is a Bill which should be supported by all those who care about the disabled in our society and strive to create a better rights-based culture for them. The bill aims to prohibit abortion on the grounds of serious disability, such as Down’s syndrome.

Under legislation imposed on Northern Ireland by Westminster during the dying days of the previous Parliament, abortion is legally permitted in certain circumstances here. One of those circumstances, which the Bill attempts to address, is Regulation 7 (1) (b), which egregiously permits abortion up to term, in cases of “severe foetal impairment where if the baby were born, it would suffer from such physical or mental impairment as to be seriously disabled”.

It should be borne in mind, that this Bill does not seek to amend the abortion law, which permits abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality.


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