A deeply sad day for Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland's Parliament Buildings, known as Stormont.Wikipedia

Tonight MPs at Westminster have voted to fundamentally undermine devolution potentially leading to far-reaching changes to abortion law and the redefinition of marriage in Northern Ireland.

This is a deeply sad day as MPs vote to remove legal protection from the most vulnerable members of society. I understand some will see this as a victory for equality and choice. But equality must treat both mother and child fairly and choice must recognise both lives in a pregnancy. 

Unfortunately Westminster MPs have placed personal agendas ahead of the people and the peace process in Northern Ireland. For over 50 years Northern Ireland has chosen a different way which means 100,000 people are alive here who otherwise would not be. Today that changes.

The law on abortion in Northern Ireland strikes a difficult and delicate balance, acknowledging the life, health and dignity of both women and unborn children. Abortion is also a devolved matter and was last debated at Stormont in 2016.

If all meaningful legal protections are removed from the unborn child our culture has lost something which is priceless. At the very least we would want to see a public consultation in Northern Ireland about any proposed legal changes.

n the meantime, the church will continue to advocate for, and support, the life, health and humanity of both women and unborn children and for the best medical care for both.

On marriage, it is a covenant commitment between a man and a woman. Many will see this as a victory for equality. However, confusing equality with the redefinition of marriage is a mistake. It is sad that MPs with no mandate have chosen to ignore devolution and change the law in NI. 

However, the church in Northern Ireland will continue to champion marriage and family while also reaching out and ministering to all those in need. Ps 2 - the nations will rage, but God is on the throne. Be blessed.

Peter Lynas is director of the Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland