Thursday, 31 July 2008

Humanist Group demand British rights for British citizens

Les Reid of the Belfast Humanist Group has endorsed Diane Abbot MP’s campaign to extend the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland. It is a troubling anomaly that women in Northern Ireland are not afforded the same rights in this regard as women in the rest of the United Kingdom. It is still more troubling that many so-called unionists seek to retain this anomaly, rather than insisting that women in Northern Ireland enjoy the same rights as their counterparts across the water.

"Since Northern Ireland is part of the UK, the same rights and facilities should be available here as elsewhere in the country."

7 comments:

Ignited said...

A so-called unionist like myself!

http://redemptionsson.blogspot.com/2008/07/extension-of-1967-abortion-act-to.html

Chekov said...

Indeed ignited. I respect your opinion, but you're wrong on this one. If you believe the UK law is wrong you should be campaigning against it, rather than campaigning to deny Northern Irish women a right to be treated equally under the law.

Chekov said...

And by the way - Northern Ireland's religious conservatism is not a valid argument. Either we belong to a modern secular democracy or we pursue our own theocratic basket case state.

Ignited said...

If you believe the political parties are representative of the NI population at large then there is very little support for the extension of this legislation to NI.

Considering NI has been treated as a place apart within the UK in terms of devolution imposed post-partition and the fact that it was exempt in 1967 from the abortion legislation I don't see the hoards of women banging on the door for this extension.

Devolve the issue. Think it falls under policing and justice - let the Assembly decide. An unpopular position like extending the legislation with opposition from every side of the political spectrum will certainly drive a wedge between the NI populace and Westminster.

But I take your point and I would happily campaign against it, and I could line up beside the UUP, DUP, SDLP and SF in opposition. Devolution is then bug bear here.

Chekov said...

“If you believe the political parties are representative of the NI population at large then there is very little support for the extension of this legislation to NI.”

Whether there is support for it in Northern Ireland or not is not the issue. Northern Ireland is an intrinsic part of the United Kingdom and there cannot be a differential of rights between one part of the Kingdom and another. It’s the Human Rights Bill issue except the other way around. Nobody is forced to have an abortion. Those who are opposed to abortion in Northern Ireland need not have one. If women within Northern Ireland haven’t the right to abortions here, then they are not being treated equally. They are second class citizens.

“Considering NI has been treated as a place apart within the UK in terms of devolution imposed post-partition and the fact that it was exempt in 1967 from the abortion legislation I don't see the hoards of women banging on the door for this extension.”

50,000 of them have been to mainland Britain for an abortion since 1967. That’s 50,000 women who have been denied their rights.

“Devolve the issue. Think it falls under policing and justice - let the Assembly decide. An unpopular position like extending the legislation with opposition from every side of the political spectrum will certainly drive a wedge between the NI populace and Westminster.”

The Assembly should not be used to deny British citizens the same rights throughout the Kingdom. There’s a rights anomaly here and it needs to be sorted out, over the heads of our politicians if necessary. If the Assembly stands in the way of rights for people in Northern Ireland, then it shouldn’t be in existence. If Northern Ireland’s parties insist on running Northern Ireland like a theocracy which is out of kilter with the rest of the UK, then an Assembly should not exist. So there you have it! My integrationist slip showing!

Chekov said...

I should say that I appreciate there is a contravening rights argument - the rights of the unborn child etc. It is parliament's duty to decide something as fundamental as the rights issue for the whole UK.

Ignited said...

Your integrationist slip! Some good information here http://www.thesite.org/sexandrelationships/safersex/unplannedpregnancy/abortioninireland.

Basically abortion is available for emergency cases such as the mothers live in peril, the babies quality of live (ie severe disability) or if mother was victim of rape.

In England and Wales in there were 2006 193,700. All I can think of is that the figure of 500,000 abortions since 1967 in NI happens is matched every few years on the mainland. I just think of saved lives.

There is a wide gulf between the NI and mainland opinion on abortion. Over the heads of Stormont is an avenue best avoided. Ironically we are closer to the RoI on this issue, although in RoI is completely illegal even in cases of rape.

Not an ideal situation that women will travel to mainland UK from both NI and the RoI for abortion. If NI had abortion what would the cross-boarder element develop in to?