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Defending life
from conception to natural death


Northern Ireland Health Department report targeting disabled babies for abortion has no credibility says UK’s leading pro-life group

25 April 2018

disabled child 

Belfast, 25 April 2018: The UK's leading pro-life group has accused the department of health in Northern Ireland of seeking to legalise a lethal form of discrimination by targeting disabled children for abortion. 

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) says that if implemented the recommendations made by senior civil servants in the Province would strip disabled children of their right to life.

Liam Gibson, SPUC’s development officer in Northern Ireland said, "The report released today argues that children diagnosed before birth with a so-called fatal foetal abnormality do not deserve the same legal protection afforded to other unborn children. Fatal foetal abnormality, however, is not a medical term and has no clear definition. It’s merely a label used to de-humanise terminally ill or seriously disabled babies. The recommendations in this report are dangerously vague and would eventually threaten the lives of all children judged to be imperfect."

Mr Gibson also accused the working group behind the report of lacking credibility. He said, "When a working group to examine this issue was proposed in 2016 it was supposed to be made up of independent experts. The senior civil servants who authored this report are not experts and certainly not independent. Many of them have a track record of trying to undermine Northern Ireland’s abortion laws through the official guidance given to doctors and the abortion law proposed by David Ford in 2015 when he was the Justice Minister. All of these recommendations have previously been made and rejected by the Northern Ireland Assembly."

"The report also completely ignores the evidence of the harm abortion does to women. Abortion can cause women serious physical and psychological harm, and that very much applies to life-limiting foetal conditions where research shows that women do significantly better emotionally if they continue with the pregnancy", he said.

"The result of a consultation carried out by the Northern Ireland Justice Department in 2015 showed that the vast majority of people rejected proposals to introduce abortion for disabled children. There were 1,500 letters opposed to a change in the law, while only 133 letters supported the proposals. In addition, there was a petition of 23,622 signatures and 20,197 postcards delivered to the department. Despite this, civil servants appear to be determined to disregard public opposition to their plans to allow the killing of unborn children they judge to be unworthy of life", concluded Mr Gibson.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact Liam Gibson, SPUC's development officer in Northern Ireland:

  • Telephone:  +44 (0) 28 9077 8018
  • Mobile: +44 (0) 79 8499 0688
  • Email:



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