The imposition on Northern Ireland of wide-ranging abortion measures that will permit ending the life of an unborn child up to viability and beyond has been described as “an act of extreme moral and legislative violence” by Independent Senator, Rónán Mullen.
Senator Mullen made his comments in the Seanad today after provisions of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019 (‘the NIEF Act)’ came into effect in Northern Ireland at one minute past midnight today.
The provisions provide for the decriminalisation of abortion and a moratorium on abortion-related criminal prosecutions from 22 October 2019.
“Most people have always, rightly, believed, that women who have abortions should not be targeted by the criminal law. This is because of the mitigating situation of fear and pressure that is very often involved. But the point at which we have arrived whereby – in the absence of any regulations for a period of some months at least – no abortion provider, no pimp, no campaigner involved in promoting abortion, however late-term and brutal, however destructive in its attempt and execution, can be the subject of a criminal prosecution, is another dark, dark chapter in our history.
“The attempts by the majority of the parties in the North, with the exception of the DUP, to deny the ethical seriousness of this has been tragic and points to terrible political and social irresponsibilty.
Instead of engaging with this problem in a sensitive and constructive manner, they chose to travel the route of ridicule and political point scoring.
At no point was there was even a minimal attempt to respond to the gravity of the legislation and to what it was entails -namely- the ending the life of an unborn child for any reason up to the point of viability and beyond.
What we now have, thanks to a political vacuum that seems to have been happily embraced insofar as it eased the passage of this inhumane Act, is a situation where unborn children in the North may be subjected to acts of intolerable cruelty in the name of ‘progressive politics.’ It isn’t just that there is something deeply unfair about abortion. It’s the lengths that people in this parliament and others go to – to deny the humanity of the child – including denying any discussion about pain relief in the context of now-permitted late-term abortions – that point to a darkness at the heart of our society and a darkening of the understanding of many people, including many parliamentarians.
It must be noted that part of the measures that have been introduced also include a compulsory component whereby ‘reproductive rights’ must become part of Northern Ireland’s school’s curriculum for adolescents; and this must include how to access abortion.
This means that not only has one of the most liberal and extreme abortion regimes in Europe being forced upon the people of the North; but the promotion of its ideological foundation point is being forced on to schools.
If left unchallenged, this will make it very difficult for schools to maintain an ethos that sees abortion as an tragedy and an injustice that erodes the fundamental respect we must have for the dignity of human life, and harder for them to encourage positive alternatives to abortions,” said Senator Mullen.