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Pro-life group tells committee that Northern Ireland’s legal restrictions on abortion protect women as well as unborn children

25 January 2019

 

The UK’s leading pro-life campaigning organisation has told members of the House of Commons Committee on Women and Equalities that Northern Ireland’s legal restrictions on abortion protect women as well as unborn children.

Appearing before the committee during its visit to Belfast, Liam Gibson, Northern Ireland political officer for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said that 50 years on from the implementation of the Abortion Act medical research has demonstrated the harmful consequences that the procedure can have on women.

Serious health risks

Mr Gibson presented the members of the committee with copies of Abortion and Women’s Healtha comprehensive analysis of research into the effects of abortion. Extensive evidence shows that abortion regardless of the grounds on which it is performed, carries serious risks for women, including increased risk of miscarriage and low birth weight in subsequent pregnancies as well as infertility and a range of psychological disorders such as depression, substance abuse and self-harming behaviour.

"Higher rates of suicide after abortion persist for several years and one Finnish study found death from suicide in post-abortive women was 650 percent higher than for women who carried their babies to full term," said Mr Gibson.

"The fact that in Northern Ireland abortion remains presumptively unlawful has protected women from these serious conditions. Legislators and public officials responsible for the shaping of healthcare policies cannot ignore this evidence.

Don't repeat Britain's mistakes

"There is roughly one abortion in Britain every three minutes," Mr Gibson continued. "If the committee is genuinely concerned with the welfare of women it should examine the impact of abortion on the nearly 200,000 women in Britain who undergo the procedure every year. It has no mandate to demand that the people of Northern Ireland overturn their current protection for unborn children.

"Claims that human rights obligations requires us to legalise the killing of babies just because they have a serious disability or because of the circumstances of their conception are entirely unfounded. There is no human right to abortion. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognises that the child by reason of his physical and mental immaturity requires special protection, including legal protection, before as well as after birth. In Northern Ireland our laws provide that protection.

"Abortion law is a devolved matter and Westminster politicians should respect the right of the people in Northern Ireland to maintain legislation that has successfully safeguarded women and children here from the devastating consequences of abortion," he said.

Notes to editors:

  • Abortion and Women’s Health is a fully referenced review based on global research and lists a catalogue of physical and mental health problems linked to terminations. It was carried out by Dr Gregory Pike, a medical researcher and the Founding Director of the Adelaide Centre for Bioethics and Culture.
  • SPUC written evidence to the Women and Equalities Committee's inquiry into Abortion law in Northern Ireland

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: liamgibson@spuc.org.uk
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