SURPRISE: British Prime Minister Refuses to Legalize Abortion in Northern Ireland After Historic Irish Vote

British Prime Minister Theresa May faces a showdown with ministers and lawmakers in her Conservative party after refusing to back reform of Northern Ireland’s highly restrictive abortion rules after neighboring Ireland’s vote to liberalize its laws.

Voters in Ireland, a once deeply Catholic nation, backed the change by two-to-one, a far higher margin than any opinion poll in the run up to the vote had predicted.

The prime minister is facing calls from within her cabinet and from opposition parties to scrap the strict rules on abortion in Northern Ireland, bringing the law in the province in line with the rest of the United Kingdom. . .

A spokeswoman for May said on Sunday changing the rules should only be undertaken by a government in Northern Ireland, which has been without a devolved executive since January last year after a power-sharing agreement collapsed. . .

Northern Ireland has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe with even rape and fatal foetal abnormality not considered legal grounds for a termination. And unlike other parts of the United Kingdom, abortions are banned apart from when the life or mental health of the mother is in danger. (Read more from “SURPRISE: British Prime Minister Refuses to Legalize Abortion in Northern Ireland After Historic Irish Vote” HERE)

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