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Defending life
from conception to natural death



18 September 2018

PRO-LIFE campaigners have reacted angrily to what they say is an arrogant attempt by English politicians to legalise abortion in Northern Ireland through the back door of Westminster.

Labour MP Diana Johnson  announced that she intends to reintroduce her ten-minute rule bill on decriminalising abortion. This would remove abortion from the criminal law and mean virtually no governance or regulation of the procedure, putting vulnerable women at risk.

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), the world’s oldest pro-life group, which recently announced plans to expand its presence with new offices in Belfast, has accused Ms Johnson and her supporters of behaving like dictators.

Liam Gibson, SPUC’s Northern Ireland Officer said: “We warned this would happen last month and have been proven correct. The abortion lobby is determined to stamp out all resistance to the killing of unborn children.

“The referendum result in the Irish Republic has left Northern Ireland more vulnerable than ever although most of the pressure for change is coming from outside the Province.

“What is being proposed would leave unborn children with absolutely no legal protection. That idea is shocking in itself but the way the pro-abortion lobby in the House of Commons is going about this flies in the face of the democratic rule of law. Diana Johnson represents no one in Northern Ireland, her party doesn’t even stand candidates for election here. Now, they think they can ride roughshod over the devolution settlement and impose their metropolitan elitist views on us while the Stormont Assembly, where legal authority over abortion law actually lies, remains in limbo.”

Mr Gibson added: “The people of Northern Ireland worked too long and too hard for accountable government to stand by while pro-abortion politicians try to impose their extremist views on us. If devolution is to have any meaning Theresa May’s government should make sure that the abortion lobby doesn’t get away with this.”

He said the Prime Minister's allies in the DUP, on whom she relies for her Commons majority, are staunchly opposed to any relaxation of abortion law but what Ms Johnson plans is so radical that it would remove all criminal sanctions and allow abortionists to regulate themselves.

The proposal has already won the backing of the Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and the British Medical Association.

While in theory abortions are illegal across the whole of the UK, women in England and Wales are given exemptions by the 1967 Act.

“Ms Johnson says abortion should not be a criminal matter and be downgraded and simply regarded as a healthcare issue. What a disgusting way to describe the life of an unborn baby. Abortion is not healthcare, it is an act of lethal violence directed at an unborn child and every child deserves the protection of the law.”

John Deighan, deputy chief executive of SPUC, said:

“Our fundamental beliefs and those of many people in Northern Ireland are facing an unprecedented challenge from those who think nothing of the rights of the voiceless unborn children nor the health of their mothers.

“The risks are profound and range from increased risk of death, including by suicide, among women who undergo abortions to increased psychological harm for women including those who terminate because of foetal anomaly. The evidence shows that there are links between abortion and depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.”

“Pro-abortion groups promote abortion on a massive scale. They want unlimited abortion.

“They want to establish the killing of babies as part of the NHS and demand public funding of abortions.  The abortion industry in Great Britain makes a fortune because the NHS pays commercial abortion providers to kill babies.

“SPUC exists now for the same reason it was created in 1967. To protect human life from conception. To fight for the rights of those who cannot defend themselves. To be a voice for the voiceless, whose deaths are ignored by our politicians. To uphold the values of civilisation which defend all humans and support mothers in having their children rather than pushing them to abortion.

“Since 1967, an estimated 100,000 babies have been born in Northern Ireland who would not have lived had the Abortion Act been introduced, while 8.7 million unborn children have been killed in the rest of the UK - that’s almost FIVE times the 1.8 million population of Northern Ireland.

“There are around 200,000 abortions every year in the UK - that’s 550 every day. Almost all (98 percent) carried out at the expense of the taxpayer.

“SPUC - and our pro-life allies - seek to uphold Article Three of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights which guarantees the right to life so that unborn babies are not treated as ‘non-persons’.

“The job of the pro-life movement in 2018 is the same as it’s always been, to stop the concept of abortion becoming normal. It is normal not to kill children.

“Northern Ireland has a chance to make a continued stand for the innocents against the legalisation of abortion.

“I ask people here to take a look at what has happened in the rest of the UK and learn from those mistakes.”

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For more information, please contact Alithea Williams, SPUC's Communications Officer, on:

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