What is happening?
This week there are two important debates happening in Westminster which could help change the law in Northern Ireland.
On Tuesday Diana Johnston is bringing a 10 Minute Rule Bill calling for the repeal of sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. This is the law that criminalises abortion in Northern Ireland, and in England and Wales if the 1967 Abortion Act isn’t complied with. This Bill would decriminalise abortion meaning that it would be regulated as a healthcare issue, not treated as a criminal matter.
On Wednesday Stella Creasy and Conor McGinn have tabled amendments to the Northern Ireland (Executive Function) Bill. These amendments would allow for the decriminalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland, and provision for same sex marriage. Not every amendment will be debated so we need to ensure that the Speaker selects them by drawing attention to them, particularly amendment NC2.
How can you help?
Write to your MP asking them to co-sign amendment NC2, this will help it get selected for debate on Wednesday, and to support the 10 Minute Rule Bill on Tuesday. https://bpas.eaction.org.uk/nowforNI2018
We know that DUP MPs oppose change on these issues, and Sinn Féin do not take their seats. We encourage you to write to them anyway to make your voice heard. This Email tool covers both the 10 Minute Bill and the NI Bill. You can also email the relevant Ministers directly when you enter a BT postcode using this tool, which focuses on the 10 Minute Bill. https://nowforni.uk/take-action/
Ask everyone you know who has an MP in England, Wales and Scotland to write to them for support
Share your support on Social Media using #NowforNI. You can tweet your MP here https://tymp.uk/2yR3M6e
What are the potential outcomes?
The best case scenario is that we achieve the decriminalisation of abortion and provision for same sex marriage, and hard working activists can take a break! To even be in with a chance we need MPs to be there on Tuesday to support the Bill, and to co-sign amendment NC2 to make sure it is debated on Wednesday.
If the Bills don’t go as we hope, we will still have made it clear to our elected representatives and the Government that we demand change. We won’t silently wait while Stormont gets its act together. The Westminster Government has a duty to uphold our human rights, and we won’t stop until they do!