08 October 2019
DUP Upper Bann MLA Carla Lockhart said,
“Last night the Northern Ireland Office released guidelines for healthcare professionals on abortion, which will come into effect if the Northern Ireland Executive is not reformed by October 21. These guidelines highlight the enormously problematic nature of the legislative vacuum which would be imposed on Northern Ireland.
The guidelines openly acknowledge that for five months between October 22 and March 31 2020 there will be "no legal abortion framework” in Northern Ireland. They highlight the fact abortion pills can be taken legally without restriction and without any requirement to notify that an abortion has taken place. The guidance makes clear the narrow nature of the conscientious objection which will be afforded to healthcare professionals, only extending to those who participate in a hands-on capacity in abortions.
The Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019 will go down as one of the best examples of how not to legislate with regard to a sensitive issue. The reality, as Conservative MP Fiona Bruce MP has put it, is that “that Westminster has failed the people of Northern Ireland terribly through this legislation.”
We have only one way to prevent this coming to pass. Even at this late stage, if the Northern Ireland Executive is restored this misguided and deeply damaging legislation will fall.
The Democratic Unionist Party has always recognised that legislation crafted at Stormont will be better tailored to local circumstances than law made at Westminster. Other parties here, it appears, prefer legislation from London. The DUP is, and always has been, ready to go back into Government right now. We have no preconditions and are ready to debate and discuss any issue on the table, regardless of how difficult or challenging it may be”.