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London, England, Apr 25, 2019 / 05:41 pm (CNA).- A committee of the British parliament has said Westminster should bypass Northern Ireland's self-governance to clarify the region's abortion law.
The House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee said Thursday that the UK government should provide a “clear framework and timeline” for Northern Ireland to address United Nations concerns on Northern Ireland’s abortion restrictions.
Committee - Report - Amnesty - International - UK
The committee's report was welcomed by Amnesty International UK and the Family Planning Association.
Christian groups and local officials have pushed back, saying this decision would hinder Northern Ireland's devolution. British Prime Minister Theresa May has said abortion should remain a devolved issue.
Abortion - Northern - Ireland - Mother - Life
Abortion is legally permitted in Northern Ireland only if the mother's life is at risk or if there is risk of permanent, serious damage to her mental or physical health.
The committee said the current law violates the rights of women in Northern Ireland.
Lack - Clarity - Situation - Confusion - Fear
“The lack of clarity about the current legal situation is creating confusion, fear and inequality,” said the committee’s chair, Maria Miller, according to the Independent. “Our report sets out action which the government must take to address this.”
“This government can't hide behind devolution to defend denying the women of Northern Ireland their basic human rights because they want to please the DUP,” said Labour MP Stella Creasy.
Committee - Devolution - Excuse - Rights - Standards
According to the committee, devolution cannot be used as an excuse to ignore human rights standards and “does not remove the UK Government’s own responsibilities to comply with its international obligations.”
The committee said there is a lack of clarity over whether doctors in Northern Ireland may refer women for free National Health Services Abortions in England, Scotland, and and Wales, which they have been able to procure since November 2017.
Action - Research - Education - CARE - Group
Christian Action Research and Education (CARE), a pro-life group, responded to the committee's report, stating that the basis of human right...
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