Wednesday 22 October 2008

Gordon Brown's climbdown on abortion to be welcomed

Only seven months ago, in answer to a question from the Reverend Ian Paisley, Gordon Brown refused to rule out the imposition of the Abortion Act on Northern Ireland through the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) bill.

So ... Today's moves by Gordon Brown's government to prevent the HFE bill from being used to extend the Abortion Act to Northern Ireland (as well as being used to approve other pro-abortion amendments) are very much to be welcomed.

"This is a significant victory for the people of Northern Ireland and our pro-life politicians who have urged the Prime Minister not to allow the abortion lobby in Britain to impose the Abortion Act upon us", said Betty Gibson, the tireless leader of SPUC Northern Ireland over the past three decades.

It would seem that Gordon Brown has recognised the strength of opposition to liberal abortion within the Northern Ireland Assembly. The leaders of the four major parties in Northern Ireland wrote to every MP opposing the Act's extension, and assembly members made it clear that they would not implement the Act if it was imposed. And it's a year ago to the day since the assembly gave overwhelming backing to a motion rejecting the Act's extension.

The prime minister has seemingly realised that if pro-abortion MPs outside Northern Ireland ignored the assembly and forced a vote in Westminster, it could have created a constitutional dilemma, as I reported following the pro-life rally in Stormont over the weekend.

"Had these measures gone through then the lives of thousands of unborn children in both Britain and Ireland would have been threatened. We all owe Northern Ireland's politicians a huge debt of gratitude for their consistent defence of the sanctity of human life ," said Betty Gibson.

As Betty suggests, the uncompromising stand of Northern Ireland MPs placed Gordon Brown in a constitutional dilemma and may also have helped save Britain from extreme pro-abortion amendments to the abortion law. As a result of the government's programme motion on the business before the House of Commons on the HFE Bill, Gordon Brown ensured that none of the abortion amendments were reached - and so they all fell.