Monday, 20 October 2008

Donaldson demands devolved justice

Campaigners, unionists amongst them, gathered at Stormont on Saturday in order to protest Diane Abbot’s proposed amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, which would extend the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland. That’s correct, unionists (self-described) were protesting against clear legislation on termination of pregnancies, which would afford women in Northern Ireland the same access to an NHS service, which they enjoy throughout the rest of the United Kingdom.

To add a further layer of irony, Jeffrey Donaldson and other unionists, argue that it is wrong for Westminster to legislate on this issue, which should be devolved to the Stormont Assembly. Indeed Donaldson warned that imposing the British position on Northern Ireland could precipitate a constitutional crisis and the collapse of power sharing institutions. Abortion is a justice matter, which means, well …to argue that policy should only be decided in Northern Ireland, is to insist that policing and justice should be devolved.

So basically, a rough outline of Donaldson’s stance – devolve justice to Northern Ireland or there will be a constitutional crisis and we might not allow power-sharing to function. Eerily familiar you might agree.

The argument has been made that a clear majority of Northern Ireland’s people do not approve of abortion. Frankly it is a non sequitur to therefore contend that women should be forced to seek terminations in England, Scotland or Wales. Nobody who disapproves of abortion will be required to have one. Extending the legislation will simply allow women, who are already going through an extraordinarily traumatic experience, to mitigate the expense and disruption which that experience additionally visits upon their lives.

4 comments:

Jeffrey Peel said...

Well said and congratulations of having the courage to say it. As Vice-Chair of the Conservatives here I disagree with several of my colleagues on this issue - I agree that the decision should be taken by Westminster for the reasons you allude to.

Anonymous said...

Different bodies of law apply in different parts of the Union - opposing the extension of 1967-style abortion to Northern Ireland is perfectly compatible with a belief in the United Kingdom. You know this. The DUP have said this. One can only assume that intellectual laziness, in your desire to attack the DUP got the better of you.

Hernandez said...

Why the picture of Daniel O'Donnell?

Chekov said...

"Different bodies of law apply in different parts of the Union - opposing the extension of 1967-style abortion to Northern Ireland is perfectly compatible with a belief in the United Kingdom. You know this. The DUP have said this. One can only assume that intellectual laziness, in your desire to attack the DUP got the better of you."

And it is within Westminster's remit to change that situation, which parliament is perfectly entitled to do, particularly when an anomalous situation arises. Certainly different law is sometimes appropriate throughout different areas of the Kingdom, where that law distributes very different rights then there is an anomaly which must be addressed.