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MPs to debate Northern Ireland abortion laws

By Alix Culbertson, news reporter
MPs will debate reforming abortion laws in Northern Ireland, where a termination is tantamount to murder.
After the Republic of Ireland voted at the end of May to repeal laws banning abortion, Labour's Stella Creasy called on Monday for an emergency debate over repealing a similar law north of the border.With hundreds of MPs from across the political spectrum showing their support on Monday evening, Speaker John Bercow granted the debate, which will happen on Tuesday lunchtime for three hours.From the Tory front bench, Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley, Women and Equalities Minister Penny Mordaunt and Environment Secretary Michael Gove notably indicated their support for the debate.
Was powerful to see the government front bench standing - hope @DUPleader will recognise change needs to come so that we have modern abortion laws for all U.K. citizens that #TrustAllWomen #NowForNI https://t.co/xS8HD4WUlX— stellacreasy (@stellacreasy) June 4, 2018
MPs will debate whether to repeal articles 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861, which make it a crime for a pregnant woman in Northern Ireland to have an abortion.It puts abortion on the same standing as murder or "child-stealing".Northern Ireland is the only nation in the British Isles to still have such archaic abortion laws and prompted about 833 women in Northern Ireland to travel to England in 2015 for an abortion.Only if a mother's life or health is at risk can an abortion be performed, with just 16 in 2015-16.:: UK abortion laws aren't as simple as you'd think
MPs to debate Northern Ireland abortion laws

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'Disenfranchised' back DUP over abortion
However, Theresa May is reluctant to change the rules because she believes the situation should be dealt with by Stormont.But with the Northern Ireland assembly without an executive since January 2017, and little hope of power-sharing being restored soon, MPs took the matter into their own hands.
Mrs May is also facing pressure from Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist MPs, whom she relies on for a Commons majority.
MPs to debate Northern Ireland abortion laws

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Labour MP hits back at Arlene Foster
DUP leader Arlene Foster said on Sunday that she insists on the country being treated the same as the rest of the UK on Brexit, but not on same-sex marriage and abortion."Marriage and abortion are matters for the Northern Ireland Assembly," she said."They are devolved issues."And on Monday she said some nationalist voters back her stance.Ms Foster's view is out of kilter with many Conservative MPs, who believe abortion is a human rights issue - and therefore a Westminster concern.Tuesday's debate comes ahead of the Supreme Court considering whether Northern Ireland's laws breach human rights legislation.
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Pressure on May for abortion reform in Northern Ireland

MPs to debate Northern Ireland abortion laws

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Should abortion be legalised in NI?
Sarah Wollaston, the Conservative chair of the health and social care select committee, said: "This would be hugely significant because human rights are not devolved."Hours before Ms Creasy's debate call ex-ministers Amber Rudd, Maria Miller and Justine Greening, with Ms Mordaunt, met with Mrs May to press her to legislate for abortion reform in Northern Ireland.
news.sky.com
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