A motion condemning the introduction to NI of ‘one of the most liberal abortion regimes in the world has been passed at Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council.
The DUP Pro-Life motion, tabled by Cllrs Gareth Wilson and Paul Greenfield, was passed with the support of all the main political parties except Sinn Fein and Alliance on Monday night.
Cllr Wilson said: “This is a very important issue and it has generated thousands of direct complaints from constituents who are deeply worried by what this legislation will mean for the unborn child.
“Our DUP Council group stands resolute on this issue, we value all human life and believe everyone deserves the right to life whether inside or outside the womb. This rushed legislation was nailed on to a wider piece of legislation at Westminster and was passed despite the opposition of my DUP MP colleagues and with no form of public consultation whatsoever.
“Our motion called for a meaningful letter to be sent on behalf of our Borough to reflect the very genuine and significant concerns that exist around this issue.”
Cllr. Greenfield who seconded the motion said this legislation is ‘a step too far’.
“As demonstrated in recent times thousands of people share the view that Westminster should retract this drastic legislation at the earliest opportunity, given its serious ramifications and the manner in which it has been brought..”
SDLP Cllr Joe Nelson said it was an emotional debate as there are very strong views on both sides of the issue. “The SDLP remains a pro-life party but has in recent times allowed members to have a conscience vote. This is a move I did not support as I feel we have to be absolutely clear about our position. Speaking in support of the motion, after Sinn Fein had tried to get the debate stopped on a point of order, I gave my personal views as a practicing Catholic on the sanctity of life, We must consider that at around 5 weeks the child has a heartbeat and that modern 3D scans show that at 7/8 weeks the features have formed.
“We agree that there is more support required for women who are suffering crisis pregnancies and more should be done. All members of the SDLP on ABC council voted in favour of the motion giving the clear signal that the SDLP group in ABC Council is very clearly Pro-Life.”
Alliance Cllr Eoin Tennyson said the issue was ‘not black and white’. “Abortion is a conscience issue for Alliance. Personally, I would like to see decriminalisation, with access to free, safe and legal termination within strict gestational limits. I believe the best place for it to be considered is in the Assembly. However, the irony of the DUP’s motion is that they are one of the main stumbling blocks to that happening.”
Sinn Fein declined to comment.