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Abortion: Pressure mounts for law change in Northern Ireland

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: (Published 26 October 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k4526
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. The BMJ

With a key case due to come before the High Court, Clare Dyer looks at the legislative options for bringing the province into line with the rest of the UK

Moves are afoot to again try to liberalise Northern Ireland’s strict abortion laws. On two successive days this week a substantial majority of MPs in the UK parliament supported a private member’s bill and also an amendment to a government bill that aimed to give women in Northern Ireland similar rights to those in the rest of the UK.

But the private member’s bill, presented by the Labour MP Diana Johnson, will not become law because the government has indicated that it will not make parliamentary time available for it, even though MPs supported it by 208 votes to 123.

And while the amendment to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Bill put down by the Labour MPs Stella Creasey and Conor McGinn was passed by 207-117 and could become law after the bill goes through the House of Lords, it will not …

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