New figures show there is no "unmet need" for abortion in Northern Ireland
25 January 2018
It's bodies like Marie Stopes that are pushing for "liberalisation" of the law.
Pressure for abortion is coming from the abortion providers.
New statistics show that 13 abortions took place in NHS hospitals in Northern Ireland in 2016/17 - three fewer than the previous year.
Liam Gibson, SPUC's Northern Ireland Development Officer, said that the decline is a good sign. "Although the actual reduction from the previous year is modest, a drop from 16 to 13 is significant because it is part of an overall downward trend.
"The number of women from Northern Ireland travelling to England for abortion has also declined," he continued. "In 2016 it fell to 724, less than half of what it was in 2001. Greater awareness of the damaging nature of abortion and better practical help for women facing crisis pregnancies has meant fewer women have felt compelled to abort their children."
No unmet demand
"This downward trend also shows that the claims that there is an unmet demand for abortion in Northern Ireland are simply false," Mr Gibson went on. "The pressure to liberalise Northern Ireland’s abortion laws is not coming from within the Province, it is led by abortion providers, such as Marie Stopes International and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service."
Mr Gibson also commented on reports that the Northern Ireland office is recruiting a senior official to deal with questions on abortion and same-sex marriage, which are both issues devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly.
"The abortion industry’s frustration at its lack of success in the Province also lies behind proposals to by-pass Northern Ireland’s elected representatives in order to liberalise the law," he said. "News that Westminster may be considering how liberal abortion might be imposed on the Province is very disturbing. It is becoming increasingly clear that in order to achieve its aims the abortion lobby is prepared not only to disregard basic civil rights like freedom of speech, but the entire democratic process."
A spokesperson for the NIO reportedly confirmed it was recruiting for the position, but insisted that it had "no plans to intervene in these areas of devolved competence".