MPs then approved an amendment from Labour MP Stella Creasy to extend abortion rights to the North - which is the only region in Ireland and Britain, and one of the only places in Western Europe, where abortion remains illegal. "So happy for the people of [Northern Ireland]".
Northern Ireland now has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world, with the procedure carrying maximum sentences of life imprisonment, even in cases of rape, incest and fatal fetal abnormality.
Because of a 2017 political dispute, Northern Ireland does not now have a parliament, and pro-abortion activists in the British government seized the opportunity to advance their agenda.
A Protestant evangelical lobby group has said "future generations will rightly look back with shame" after MPs voted to change the laws on abortion and same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. The U.K. Guardian reports that the change came via amendment to the Northern Ireland Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions Bill, focused on the reestablishment of the devolved government, the Catholic Herald writes. It passed by a vote of 383 to 73.
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In addition to the abortion amendment, MPs added an amendment legalizing same-sex marriage to the same bill.
Amendments made to legislation by the House of Commons earlier this week compel the Government to liberalise access to abortion and allow same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland if Stormont is not restored by October 21.
Decisions on abortion law have historically been the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Assembly, which has a special devolved status from the rest of the United Kingdom government.
For years, members of parliament (MPs) from across the political divide have called on the United Kingdom government to change the law in Northern Ireland.