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By Hilary White
 
  BELFAST, Northern Ireland, October 24, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Northern Ireland’s leading pro-life group, Precious Life, said they are “delighted” at the outcome of a vote in the Legislative Assembly to scrap Department of Health guidelines that would have made abortion more available.
 
  Precious Life had been instrumental in bringing forward petitions and a motion in response to the proposed guidelines and lobbied MLA’s throughout the summer. The group warned that the draft guidelines would change how the abortion law was interpreted and “effectively legalize abortion”.
 
  The director of Precious Life, Bernadette Smyth, told the Irish Family Press that after the vote, “Thankfully, we’re now back to the drawing board regarding the guidelines.”
 
  While the 1967 Abortion Act that legalized abortion in Britain does not apply in Northern Ireland, the Health Department’s draft guidelines would create similar loopholes in the law that have created effective abortion-on-demand in England and Wales. They specify that women may abort when their lives are endangered by a pregnancy or there is a “serious” long-term threat to her mental or physical health.
 
  The Health Department brought the guidelines forward in January after the Family Planning Association took the Health Department to court to force the government to “clarify” the situations in Northern Ireland under which abortions could be legally committed. 
 
  Health Minister Michael McGimpsey told the Assembly on Monday that the government had no plans to use the draft guidelines to usher in abortion on demand. “Let me be clear,” he said, “that there is no question of me bringing about a situation where abortion is available ‘on demand’ in Northern Ireland.”
 
  McGimpsey said the matter was one for the British Parliament in Westminster to decide, not the Northern Ireland Assembly.

  See Transcript of the debate which led up to the resolution:
https://www.niassembly.gov.uk/record/reports2007/071022.htm

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