Abortion and same-sex marriage rights in Northern Ireland | Letters

As a signatory to the UN body Cedaw (the committee on the elimination of discrimination against women) it is shocking that in its latest report in 2018 it notes that in its almost 20 years it has made 13 recommendations about the abortion situation in Northern Ireland, all of which have been ignored. This year the UN committee against torture recommended that “the State party ensure that all women and girls in the State party, including in Northern Ireland, have effective access to the means of terminating a pregnancy when not doing so is likely to result in severe pain and suffering, such as when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, when the life or health of the pregnant person is at risk and in cases of fatal fetal impairment”.

The UK can hardly criticise other countries for ignoring UN recommendations if it behaves in this way. We therefore welcome the vote to extend abortion legislation to Northern Ireland as a first step to decriminalisation of this medical matter (Rights to same-sex marriage and abortion for whole of UK, 10 July).
Wendy Savage and Jayne Kavanagh
Co-chairs of Doctors for Choice (UK)

I don’t think I have ever found myself in agreement with the DUP’s Nigel Dodds before, but he has a strong case when he argues that the Commons votes on abortion and equal marriage “drive a coach and horses through the principle of devolution”. Personally I support both these initiatives, but if the Good Friday agreement means anything it should be the people of Northern Ireland who decide these issues, not the Westminster parliament. If the Commons had to intervene why couldn’t it, in the absence of a devolved assembly, have legislated to allow the people of the north of Ireland a vote on both these issues? I am sure they would vote for both.
Declan O’Neill
Oldham, Greater Manchester

Join the debate – email

Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit

Do you have a photo you’d like to share with Guardian readers? Click here to upload it and we’ll publish the best submissions in the letters spread of our print edition


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.