mother and baby

Further attempts to change abortion law in NI are unsuccessful

2nd Nov 2018 - Rachael Adams

Last week an amendment was made by MPs to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Bill requiring the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to provide guidance on the supposed ‘incompatibility’ between human rights law and Northern Ireland law on abortion and same-sex marriage.

This week the Bill was considered by the House of Lords. CARE supported several Peers as the House of Lords prepared to debate the Bill on Tuesday.

We were very encouraged that many Peers spoke in defence of the unborn and in opposition to Westminster introducing radical change to abortion law in Northern Ireland, which would completely undermine the devolution settlement.

There were excellent speeches on the evening including contributions from Lord Alton, Baroness Stroud, Baroness O'Loan and Lord Shinkwin, two of which you can watch below.



An amendment from Lord Adonis, which would have imposed abortion on demand up to 28 weeks in Northern Ireland, was also strongly opposed. This amendment would have led to Northern Ireland having the most extreme abortion regime in the UK.

Whilst the original amendment from the Commons remained part of the Bill, which has received Royal Assent and is now law, it is important to note that issuing guidance does not mean the law on abortion in Northern Ireland has changed or indeed will as a result of this Bill. 

The Bill has achieved Royal Assent and has become law. Crucially though, it does not change the law on abortion in Northern Ireland.

Thank you if you were able to write to your MP or a Peer. We will continue to monitor this issue closely.

Click here for more on our work on abortion.


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