Campaign launched to keep abortion illegal in Northern Ireland
A campaign has been launched to keep abortion illegal in Northern Ireland, by encouraging residents to only vote for pro-life candidates in the country's upcoming election.
Elections will be held on 2 March and the new leafleting campaign, launched by SPUC, is a key opportunity to continue resisting pressure to legalise abortion in the country.
Christian Concern's Chief Executive, Andrea Williams, said that England and Wales should "follow suit" and vote for pro-life candidates in the local elections in May, in a bid to secure greater protections for unborn children.
Lives of the disabled at risk
The campaign is focusing in particular on the South Antrim region, where the lives of unborn babies with disabilities are put at risk by a private member's bill to legalise abortion where babies are diagnosed with a 'fatal foetal abnormality'.
Former Alliance leader David Ford has promised to reintroduce the bill, despite a public consultation by the Department of Justice, which found that 97% of respondents opposed any change in Northern Ireland's abortion law.
The term 'fatal foetal abnormality' has been rejected by medics. In this piece on the Conservative Woman website, Christian Medical Fellowship's Philippa Taylor explains why.
'It's a matter of life and death'
Liam Gibson, SPUC's development officer for Northern Ireland, said that it is vital to prevent this route to legalising abortion.
"MLAs who advocate proposals to target babies with life-limiting conditions for legalised killing will table plans as soon as they return to Stormont," he said."That's why on 2 March we are urging people to vote only for pro-life candidates. Even a second, third or fourth preference vote can help the pro-abortionists."
He continued:"The NHS, education, jobs, the economy - they're all important. But for unborn babies, Polling Day is much more than that. For them, it's a matter of life or death."
We're All Equal
While attempts continue in Northern Ireland to legalise abortion on the grounds of disability, Lord Shinkwin is attempting to reverse the tragedy of disability abortion in the UK.
His Abortion (Disability Equality) Bill seeks to remove section 1(1)d from the Abortion Act 1967, which permits abortion up to birth on the grounds of disability.
Speaking last month in the House of Lords during the Committee stage of his bill, Lord Shinkwin, who is himself disabled, said:
"People with congenital disabilities are facing extinction. If we were animals, perhaps we might qualify for protection as endangered species. But we are only human beings with disabilities, so we don't qualify."
The 'We're All Equal' campaign seeks to raise awareness and build support for Lord Shinkwin's bill.
'Look at the rest of the UK'
SPUC's Chief Executive John Smeaton pointed to the rest of the UK as an example of why abortion should never be legalised in Northern Ireland.
"Northern Ireland has another chance to make a stand for the innocents. I ask everyone to contact their candidates urging them to vote against the legalisation of abortion.
"And I would encourage all voters to take a look at what has happened in the rest of the UK and learn from our mistakes. Make sure you vote only for pro-life candidates as they can and will make a difference in the fight for the rights of the unborn child."
Making the protection of life a priority
Andrea Williams commented:
"This year we mark the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act, which has seen over 8 million babies lost to abortion. Every single day, 550 precious lives are ended in the UK before they are even born. This is tragedy on an unbelievable scale.
"We should take encouragement from the bid to protect life in Northern Ireland, and be spurred on to do the same in England and Wales.
"What better time than the 50th anniversary of the Abortion Act, to make the protection of life a priority in the upcoming UK elections in May?"