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SPUC opens new office in Belfast

15 February 2019

Prominent pro-life politician Jim Wells, the DUP MLA, has formally opened the new Northern Ireland headquarters of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC).

SPUC is the world’s oldest pro-life organisation and the decision to establish a Belfast base and expand their staff numbers comes as they step  up their fight against proposed legislation to make abortion legal in Northern Ireland.

The move takes place as the pro-abortion lobby has been increasing pressure to overturn existing legislation which effectively bans abortions except in clearly defined circumstances.

Former Northern Ireland health minister Mr Wells, the longest serving DUP MLA in history, having overtaken the late Reverend Ian Paisley’s record of 24 years, is an outspoken opponent of abortion.

Speaking at the SPUC office opening he said: “It’s a great honour to be asked to this event and I am delighted that SPUC is increasing its presence here at such a crucial time as the fundamental principles of the pro-life movement come under increasing pressure both in Northern Ireland and in London where there is growing support for Westminster to impose abortion legislation on the people of Northern Ireland. That would be a disgrace to democracy.”

SPUC has had a long-term presence in Northern Ireland and has been represented for some time by development officer Liam Gibson who will take charge of the new office and recruit new members of staff.

Mr Gibson said: “The decision comes at a time when the country is coming under pressure on abortion like never before. The result of the referendum in the Republic of Ireland has fuelled the clamour for change from the pro-abortion lobby here.

“But we are also facing a twin-pronged attack with the second assault coming from London where the pro-abortion lobby is seeking to use Westminster to impose direct legislation through the House of Commons on the people of Northern Ireland at a time when Stormont - which has devolved powers over abortion law -  is suspended.”

John Smeaton, chief executive of SPUC said:

“This is a massively important time for the pro-life movement as the fundamental respect for life and the values of many people in Northern Ireland are facing an unprecedented challenge from those who care nothing for the rights of the voiceless, unborn children nor the health of their mothers.

“The risks are horrendous and range from increased risk of death, including by suicide, among women who undergo abortions to increased psychological harm for women who have an abortion because of foetal anomaly and the links between abortion and depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder.

“SPUC’s work to make the truth know about the harm of abortion to women is especially important in the light of a disgraceful new document published by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) entitled Abortion and Abortion Care Fact Sheet. It is nothing less than pro-abortion propaganda being put out under the presidency of Lesley Regan, who is a leading figure in the pro-abortion lobby. 

“This increase in our activity in Northern Ireland will involve a significant financial commitment but you cannot put a price on the life of a child and our supporters have been enormously generous in assisting the funding of our campaign. Without their support this would not be possible.

“Jim Wells is a giant of the pro-life movement in Northern Ireland and we are honoured to have him open this office today.”

Mr Wells added: “I have received messages of support from right across Northern Ireland where many people are horrified about what is happening in the Irish Republic and are urging me to stand firm in the defence of our most defenceless citizens — the unborn. 

“Many of these people are from the nationalist community who are frustrated by the policy changes within the SDLP and Sinn Fein. They feel that their sincerely held views on this crucial issue are no longer being represented.”

Mr Smeaton said SPUC is a voluntary organisation which relies on the donations of the public to continue its work and added: 

“This new office and extra staff would not have been possible without the generosity of our supporters in Northern Ireland, as well as those elsewhere. We hope they continue to support our work.

“We are faced with well-funded pro-abortion groups who 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 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 give voice to the voiceless - the unknown, the unseen, the unheard. To make the world hear the silent screams of babies being killed on an industrial scale.

“Since the Abortion Act of 1967, around 9 million unborn children have been killed in 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 per cent) carried out at the expense of the taxpayer.

“SPUC, which was formed in 1967, 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 2019 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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