A bid to exclude cases of serious non-fatal disabilities from abortion laws in Northern Ireland has failed following a close vote at Stormont on Tuesday.

Assembly members voted by a narrow margin against a key clause in the Severe Foetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill by 45 votes to 43.

Two Fermanagh South Tyrone MLAs voted in favour of the bill – UUP MLA Rosemary Barton and DUP MLA Deborah Erskine – while three Fermanagh South Tyrone Sinn Féin MLAs, Jemma Dolan, Áine Murphy and Colm Gildernew, did not vote in favour of the Bill.

Mrs. Erskine spoke in favour of the Bill, saying: “This Bill is a targeted piece of draft legislation which focuses on stereotypes against disabilities.”

She said the legislation passed in Westminster “added to the stigma” faced by disabled people in society, continuing: "As some Members pointed out, the current law sends the message that people with disabilities are less worthy of protection than those without disabilities.

"What a disappointing message to send out from the Assembly, and a troubling legacy to leave."

Mrs. Erskine read out testimonies from families impacted by Down syndrome as part of her speech, including a testimony from Fermanagh woman, Hannah Wilson.