British politicians to hold emergency debate on abortion restrictions in Northern Ireland
Politicians in the UK are to hold an emergency debate on the future of abortion law in Northern Ireland.
The debate, which will take place today, was called by MP Stella Creasy who said that the effects of Ireland's referendum on the eighth amendment had been "felt around the world."
She added that Ireland's landslide 'Yes' victory had "thrown a spotlight on the situation in Northern Ireland" and that the country's abortion laws needed to be addressed.
Northern Ireland is the only country in the UK that still has a ban on abortion.
That'll be a yes, then. 🙋🙋🙋🙋🙋🙋🙋🙋
Watch what happened when Commons Speaker John Bercow asked MPs whether they supported @stellacreasy's call for an emergency debate on the abortion law in Northern Ireland.
Read more here: https://t.co/jFxFfx6GSg pic.twitter.com/malB2EgO3r
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) June 4, 2018
The 1861 Offences Against the Person Act (OAPA) makes it a criminal offence to procure a termination in Northern Ireland. England, Scotland, and Wales have long been exempt from the law.
Creasy said that by repealing the law, the government will show "... women across the UK we trust them all with their own healthcare."
"OAPA is over 150 years old.
"It puts abortion in the same category as homicide, destroying or damaging a building with the use of gunpowder, child stealing, rape or defilement of women."
British prime minister Theresa May had previously stated that abortion law in Northern Ireland was an issue for the Stormont Assembly to deal with.
She recently met with MPs in support of changing the country's law, but has resisted any repeal of the law to come from the House of Commons.
Following this, a statement was released from Downing Street reading:
"We recognise there are strongly-held views on all sides of the debate in Northern Ireland and that's why our focus is on restoring that democratically accountable, devolved government."
The emergency debate will take place later today.