On Sunday, an RTE presenter posited this question: “How can you say the 8th amendment is necessary to prevent a UK style abortion regime, when Northern Ireland has banned abortions for years without the 8th amendment?”
Two weeks ago, politicians in Stormont voted down two proposals to make abortion available in the north where the baby was either conceived by sexual assault or had a severe disability – a so-called ‘fatal, foetal abnormality’. The measures were decisively defeated. The proposal to allow abortion where a baby has a severe disability was defeated by 59 votes to 40. A second amendment to allow abortion in the case of sexual assault was voted down by a two to one majority.
A Belfast High Court judge has ruled that abortion should be made available in the north of Ireland where the baby had a severe disability or was conceived through rape. The case was taken by the Northern Ireland Human Right Commission and the ruling has been described as driving a coach and horses through Northern Ireland’s abortion law. Precious Life, the leading anti-abortion group in the north, said that Justice Mark Horner’s ruling was ‘incompatible with human rights’, and it’s hard to see how the court could have made a ruling which was both misinformed and contradictory, and used language that was sometimes cruel and offensive.
A woman from Ireland bled to death after an abortion at a Marie Stopes clinic in West London. Three people – the abortionist, Dr Adedayo Adedeji, and two nurse colleagues, Gemma Pullen and Margaret Miller – who worked at the clinic have now been charged with manslaughter. Reporting from the Irish media on the case has been confined to four-sentence news snippets. There has been no blaze of publicity, no calls for an inquiry, and no hard questions asked of the abortion industry.
On 10th April 2014 I and some other members of Precious Life attended the European Parliament’s public hearing for the European Citizen Initiative One of Us. With nearly two million collected signatures of support, the One of Us initiative was presented as the largest petition in the European Parliament’s history. The aim of this initiative is to prevent EU funding being used to advance embryo stem-cell research and any other activity that involves the destruction of unborn human life. The success of the One of Us initiative shows that the protection of every human being from the moment of conception is a matter of great concern of European citizens. Approximately $120 million in EU development aid is currently spent each year to protect reproductive health. This initiative has given European citizens a voice to discuss and debate the allocation of this funding.
Hundreds of people gathered in Belfast City Centre for our “Witness for Life” on Saturday 19th October, when Precious Life marked the one year anniversary of Marie Stopes International setting up their illegal centre in Belfast. As Director of Precious Life, I thanked the crowd, who had travelled from all across Ireland, for their strong pro-life witness and also thanked the dedicated volunteers who have maintained a constant Vigil outside the Marie Stopes centre for the past year – every day and hour the centre is open.
Precious Life presented 250,000 petitions to the Northern Ireland Assembly before MLAs began debating an amendment aimed at stopping private abortion centres like MARIE STOPES INTERNATIONAL from killing unborn babies. The pro-life group said they were bringing the democratic voice of the people to Stormont.