In an open letter to the Belfast Telegraph
, a group of cross-community politicians from Northern Ireland have criticised the UK Government’s proposals to legalise abortion in Northern Ireland. The signatories, who include Baroness O’Loan and DUP chief whip Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, say that the current proposals undermine devolution as they go far beyond what is legally required of the Government. The letter comes after the Government launched a consultation
on a new legal framework for abortion in Northern Ireland on 4 November.
In July, MPs in Westminster voted to legalise abortion in Northern Ireland in the absence of a functioning Northern Ireland Assembly. All sitting MPs from Northern Ireland rejected the change to the law, and the passing of the legislation was criticised at the time for undermining the devolution settlement. It also became clear from the Government’s proposals that it intended to legislate for abortion in more circumstances than is required under the Westminster legislation.