DUP pressure Theresa May over Abortion in Northern Ireland
DUP MPs have come out strongly against Theresa May making any decision to change the rules surrounding terminations in the province.
The Tory Education Minister, Anne Milton, and the chair of the Health Select Committee, Sarah Wollaston, had come out in favour of the bid by Labour MP Stella Creasy to overhaul abortion access for women in Northern Ireland.
In response to criticism of the existing legislation that covers Northern Ireland (which operates under a law dating from 1861, senior DUP MP Ian Paisley Jr. stated that “NI should not be bullied into accepting abortion on demand."
"NI did not have a constitutional imperative on abortion it is governed by laws that can be changed."
"The settled will of the people has been to afford protections to the unborn life and protect the life of the mother. “
This is despite the fact that devolved government in Northern Ireland is currently suspended, in part due to the DUP's refusal to accept the introduction of an Irish Language act in the province.
The DUP have previously used their position as the largest unionist party to block progressive social policy in the Assembly, including a Gay Marriage bill, which was backed by the majority of Northern Irish parliamentarians.
As Theresa May is currently reliant on the DUP to prop up her minority government, there have been reports that she will refuse to back any move to extend the current abortion provision to Northern Ireland.
Campaigners, including Amnesty international, have called for the law to be modernised in the North.
Grainne Teggart, Amnesty International's campaign manager said the British government can “no longer turn a blind eye and deny us equality”.
“We cannot be left behind in a corner of the UK and on the island of Ireland as second-class citizens”.