Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill — New Clause 10 — International Obligations — Abortion — Sexual and Reproductive Health — 9 Jul 2019 at 16:45
The majority of MPs voted to legalise abortion in Northern Ireland in a broad range of circumstances and to improve sexual and reproductive health rights and services with a proviso that if a Northern Ireland Executive is formed by 21 October 2019 the new law would cease to have effect.
MPs were considering the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill.
The proposed new clause supported by a majority of MPs in this vote was titled: International obligations and stated:
- (1) In accordance with the requirements of section 26 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 regarding international obligations, the Secretary of State must make regulations by statutory instrument to give effect to the recommendations of the Report of the Inquiry concerning the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland under article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
- (2) Regulations under this section must come into force by 21 October 2019, subject to subsections (3) and (4).
- (3) A statutory instrument containing regulations under subsection (1)—
- (a) must be laid before both Houses of Parliament;
- (b) is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.
- (4) If a Northern Ireland Executive is formed before 21 October 2019, any extant obligations arising under subsection (1) shall cease to have effect.
The recommendations to be given effect were:
- A.Legal and institutional framework
- (a) Repeal sections 58 and 59 of the Offences against the Person Act, 1861, so that no criminal charges can be brought against women and girls who undergo abortion or against qualified health-care professionals and all others who provide and assist in the abortion;
- (b) Adopt legislation to provide for expanded grounds to legalize abortion at least in the following cases:
- (i) Threat to the pregnant woman’s physical or mental health, without conditionality of “long-term or permanent” effects;
- (ii) Rape and incest;
- (iii) Severe fetal impairment, including fatal fetal abnormality, without perpetuating stereotypes towards persons with disabilities and ensuring appropriate and ongoing support, social and financial, for women who decide to carry such pregnancies to term;
- (c) Introduce, as an interim measure, a moratorium on the application of criminal laws concerning abortion and cease all related arrests, investigations and criminal prosecutions, including of women seeking post-abortion care and health-care professionals;
- (d) Adopt evidence-based protocols for health-care professionals on providing legal abortions particularly on the grounds of physical and mental health and ensure continuous training on the protocols;
- (e) Establish a mechanism to advance women ’ s rights, including through monitoring authorities ’ compliance with international standards concerning access to sexual and reproductive health, including access to safe abortions, and ensure enhanced coordination between the mechanism with the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission;
- (f) Strengthen existing data-collection systems and data sharing between the Department and the police to address the phenomenon of self-induced abortion.
- B.Sexual and reproductive health rights and services
- (a) Provide non-biased, scientifically sound and rights-based counselling and information on sexual and reproductive health services, including on all methods of contraception and access to abortion;
- (b) Ensure the accessibility and affordability of sexual and reproductive health services and products, including on safe and modern contraception, including oral, emergency, long-term and permanent forms of contraception, and adopt a protocol to facilitate access at pharmacies, clinics and hospitals;
- (c) Provide women with access to high-quality abortion and post-abortion care in all public health facilities and adopt guidance on doctor-patient confidentiality in that area;
- (d) Make age-appropriate, comprehensive and scientifically accurate education on sexual and reproductive health and rights a compulsory component of curriculum for adolescents, covering prevention of early pregnancy and access to abortion, and monitor its implementation;
- (e) Intensify awareness-raising campaigns on sexual and reproductive health rights and services, including on access to modern contraception;
- (f) Adopt a strategy to combat gender-based stereotypes regarding women’s primary role as mothers;
- (g) Protect women from harassment by anti-abortion protesters by investigating complaints and prosecuting and punishing perpetrators.
-  Parliament's webpage on the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill (which later became the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act), Parliament.uk
Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.
What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.
What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.
What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.
|Party||Majority (Aye)||Minority (No)||Both||Turnout|
|DUP||0||8 (+2 tell)||0||100.0%|
|Lab||210 (+2 tell)||5||0||87.9%|