Northern Ireland news

SDLP councillors in Newry, Mourne & Down 'reaffirm their pro-life position'

SDLP members of Newry, Mourne and Down district council

SDLP councillors in Newry, Mourne and Down have "reaffirmed their pro-life position" during a debate on abortion.

In a statement, SDLP councillor Michael Savage, a former chief executive of the party, said the 14 representatives on the council are "unapologetically pro-life" after voicing their opposition to calls for abortion on demand to be introduced to Northern Ireland.

It came after a motion was put forward by Alliance councillor Patrick Brown calling for support of the introduction of abortion laws similar to the rest of the UK.

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"All 14 SDLP councillors wanted to put it on the record this evening that we are pro-life and against abortion on demand," said Mr Savage.

"We wanted to reassure our party members and supporters in this district that we remain true to the values of being a pro-life party.

"We voiced our opposition to a motion from Alliance councillor Patrick Brown which in our view was calling for abortion on demand to be introduced to Northern Ireland.

"The subsequent amendment from Sinn Féin, while we acknowledged some merits within its content, we believed the wording was too vague and open to misinterpretation and we voted against it to remain true to our pro-life principles."

SDLP leader Colm Eastwood is understood to support a shift in party policy to allow free votes in relation to abortion. Picture by Declan Roughan

Mr Savage added that the SDLP "is and has been from its inception a pro-life party".

"I want to reassure all our party supporters out there that the SDLP councillors that represent them in Newry, Mourne and Down are unapologetically pro-life," he said.

It comes just weeks after the SDLP changed its position to allow its members a conscience vote on abortion.

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