Britain's Theresa May faces calls to relax Northern Ireland abortion rules

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LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May faced demands from ministers and lawmakers in her Conservative party to reform Northern Ireland‘s highly restrictive abortion rules after neighbouring Ireland’s vote to liberalise 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.

Penny Mordaunt, Britain‘s women and equalities minister, said that the victory to legalise abortion should now bring change north of the Irish border.

“A historic and great day for Ireland and a hopeful one for Northern Ireland,” Mordaunt said. “That hope must be met.”

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.

Since the collapse…

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