We will protect disabled children in Northern Ireland vows prolife movement
8 October 2014
Belfast: The pro-life movement in Northern Ireland has vowed to oppose any attempt to remove the Province’s existing protection for children diagnosed before birth with serious disabilities. Responding to the announcement that David Ford, the Justice Minister, wants to legalise the abortion of disabled children, a spokesman for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) predicted that the public would overwhelmingly reject his proposals.
Liam Gibson, SPUC’s Northern Ireland development officer said: "Abortion advocates alway seek to use so-called hard cases to advance their agenda of abortion on demand. They try to present abortion as a compassionate response for parents who learn their unborn baby is seriously ill. While every case is unique, each one is a tragedy.
"Unfortunately, while some women in Northern Ireland receive help and support from their obstetric team, others do not. Some women have been given inadequate or even inaccurate information about their baby's condition, which can leave them feeling that abortion is their only option. Others have spoken publicly about the pressure placed on them to consent to an abortion."
Mr Gibson continued: "It is important to note that, decades after the passage of the Abortion Act in Britain, there is no research to support the popular assumption that abortion is easier on the mother psychologically. In fact, there is compelling evidence that a significant percentage of women are damaged emotionally by abortion and can suffer extreme stress, anxiety or depression. Women who choose abortion because their babies are disabled are particularly at risk of serious post-abortion depression.
"Abortion is not a genuinely compassionate response to a crisis pregnancy. That is why the pro-life movement has in recent years attempted to highlight the desperate need for perinatal hospice care for families who need help and support when facing a very difficult and heartbreaking time in their lives."
Perinatal hospice care applies the principles of palliative medicine to babies diagnosed before birth with life limiting conditions.
Mr Gibson said: "This type of care allows parents to grieve properly for the loss of their child by ensuring that their baby's life, no matter how short, is not meaningless. Parents who have experienced perinatal hospice care speak of it in overwhelmingly positive terms.
"Unborn children are one of the most vulnerable groups in our society. This is especially true if they are disabled. Unlike Britain - where disabled babies can be aborted right up to birth - the law in Northern Ireland does not place any less value on the life of a disabled child, even if that life is tragically short. The pro-life movement is committed to protecting all children from abortion, regardless of their disabilities.
"It is vitally important that as many people as possible take part in this consultation exercise to ensure that this lethal form of discrimination against the disabled is kept out of Northern Ireland", concluded Mr Gibson.
Liam Gibson, SPUC's Northern Ireland development officer, can be contacted on:
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