Historic vote could legalize abortion and same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland

A proposed Irish Language Act has been a red line for both of Northern Ireland’s main parties

Lawmakers in London overwhelmingly voted by 383 votes to 73 in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, and 332 to 99 in favor of abortion reform. Northern Ireland is the only province in the United Kingdom to have strict abortion laws and where same-sex marriage is not allowed.

CNN reports, "While the 1967 Abortion Act broadly legalized the procedure throughout the rest of the UK (England, Scotland and Wales), it has never been extended to Northern Ireland, where an 1861 law still holds".

Mrs Smyth concluded: "The onus is now on Sinn Féin and the DUP to get our Government up and running by 21st October to ensure that this abhorrent attack on our democracy is resisted".

Video footage shows Conservative MP Jo Churchill appears to realise she's forgotten to vote in the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill. However, if the parliament is revived by then, it can proceed with a vote on whether to approve or repeal the measures. "Parliament has changed lives today".

Abortion has remained illegal in Northern Ireland, except for cases where the woman's health was judged to be "at risk".

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"So it was a hard decision, pitting important social issues against how people in Northern Ireland are governed and whether we still believe in devolution".

In 2017 the British government announced it would fund abortions for Northern Irish residents.

Campbell notes that the people of Northern Ireland have no desire to be legislated by MPs in Westminster, citing a 2018 ComRes poll in which 64 percent of those surveyed said any changes to abortion legislation should be a matter for the people of Northern Ireland and their elected representatives to decide.

Tuesday's votes have been hailed as a significant step by LGBTQ and women's rights campaigners across the British Isles. Bill is subject to a future executive who could potentially overturn or amend the law. "Precious Life call on the pro-life majority of Northern Ireland to rise up in opposition to this stripping of their most fundamental rights".

"The grave harm and suffering under Northern Ireland's abortion regime are finally coming to an end".

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