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Pro life movement calls for scrapping of Northern Ireland abortion guidelines

22 October 2007

Pro-life movement calls for scrapping of Northern Ireland abortion guidelines Belfast, 22 October 2007 - The pro-life movement has renewed calls for the Northern Ireland health minister to scrap his department's draft guidelines on abortion after members of the Province's Assembly debated a motion rejecting any attempt to make abortion more widely available. Critics of the draft guidelines, which were issued by the Department of Health Social Security and Public Safety (DHSSPS) earlier this year, say they are seriously flawed and could lead to an increase in the number of abortions in the Province. Betty Gibson, chairwoman of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children in Northern Ireland, said that the DHSSPS had failed to recognise the full protection for the unborn child in Northern Ireland's law as well as ignoring the effects of abortion on women. "Abortion kills children. The majority of people in Northern Ireland want the law to protect unborn children and believe that doctors treating a pregnant woman owe a duty of care to both the mother and her child. The DHSSPS guidelines have failed to reflect that duty," Mrs Gibson said. "Women also have a right to accurate and comprehensive information on the potential physical and psychological risks of abortion and the development of the unborn child. The draft guidelines do not meet this requirement. In fact doctors who only reply on the information given in the guidelines could be found guilty of negligence if they fail to provide information that a Court later considers necessary for valid consent. "The draft guidelines threaten the rights of women, children and medical professionals. In view of the number and serious nature of problems with the guidelines the health minister has little choice but to scrap them and start again," Mrs Gibson said.

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