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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Bill of Rights recommendations a perversion of law, says SPUC

1 April 2008

Bill of Rights recommendations "a perversion of law", says SPUC Belfast, 1st April 2008 - Recommendations for a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland could undermine international legal recognition of the right to life of unborn children, warns the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC).

The Bill of Rights Forum, composed of community representatives, has drafted a Bill of Rights for consideration by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.

The Forum voted against protecting children from conception onwards, but voted for the inclusion of pro-abortion euphemisms such as 'reproductive health', which is often interpreted to include abortion.

The Catholic Church and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) boycotted the press conference launching the report, in protest at the Forum's failure to recommend protection for unborn children.

Liam Gibson of SPUC Northern Ireland, commented: "International human rights instruments - the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and others, all protect the fundamental right to life of the unborn child. The government will be in breach of its obligations under international law if it eventually accepts the pro-abortion recommendations in today's report. The people of Northern Ireland and their elected representatives have made it clear repeatedly that they do not want abortion in Northern Ireland, so the attempts to sneak abortion into the Bill of Rights is especially disgraceful. Abortion hurts women and kills children."

Notes for editors: The Bill of Rights Forum voted to recommend that the Bill of Rights state that: * (Under 'Right to physical integrity'): "Everyone has the right to physical and psychological integrity, including...the right to make decisions, within the law concerning reproduction". * (Under 'Right to health'): "Everyone has the right to appropriate healthcare and social care services, including lawful reproductive health care, provided on the basis of free and informed consent and confidentiality." SPUC made a submission in 2000 to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission regarding abortion and the proposed bill of rights. Nelson McCausland MLA, a DUP member of the Forum, has condemned the report, saying:"There are individual clauses contained within this document that are repellent to the broad swathe of public opinion. For example, the report contains no fewer than 2 proposals that can be correctly interpreted as opening the door to abortion freely available in Northern Ireland. This is despite the fact that in a recent debate at Stormont, a majority of representatives from across the political spectrum stated their opposition to any liberalising of the abortion laws here." (DUP website)

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