There were a number of reasons for this strong pro-choice showing. Because of recent evidence that medicine is making no progress in improving survival rates for babies born before 24 weeks. Because less than 1.5% of all abortions in Britain are carried out after 20 weeks - and when they are, the reason for the delay is nearly always more serious than abortion opponents like to suggest. And, of course, because the absence of an authoritarian religious tradition means that most British people are not brainwashed from an early age into thinking of the foetus as a fully independent little person with all the rights of the woman whose body it is wholly dependent on. Sometimes I think we're not only on a different island over here, but on another planet.
It's a shame that an amendment that would have extended abortion rights to the Six Counties was withdrawn. By the looks of things it might have had a chance of passing, over the disgraceful opposition of all four of the major parties in the Six, including my own. (Chris Gaskin has astutely if ungrammatically pointed out the hypocrisy of the unionist parties in objecting to this aspect of British rule, but the truth is that all of them are simply calling for the problem to be exported.) So last night's vote wasn't the opportunity it could have been to take a step forward, but at least it wasn't a step back - and with all the anti-choice hysteria we've heard lately that in itself feels like a small victory.
Well done to Louise and other women in Britain who put so much effort into this.