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DUP slams abortion debate as 'unfair'

By Cate McCurry

Published 27/10/2016

DUP MLA Nelson McCausland
DUP MLA Nelson McCausland

A DUP MLA has accused the organisers of a Stormont-supported seminar of being "shamelessly unbalanced" after it emerged only pro-abortion guest speakers will appear.

A part of the Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series (KESS) run by the Assembly's Research and Information Service, the event on November 16 will feature in-depth discussions on pregnancy termination presented by five academics.

Entitled 'Abortion policy and law: key considerations', three of the speakers include Dr Kathryn McNeilly of Queen's University, Dr Fiona Bloomer from Ulster University and the Open University's Dr Lesley Hoggart.

KESS is described as a forum that encourages debate on a wide range of research findings, with the overall aim of "promoting evidence-based policy and law-making within NI".

However, the DUP's Nelson McCausland said: "What is proposed for the KESS seminar next month is shamelessly unbalanced and totally unfair. It is presented as the sharing of impartial academic expertise but is simply providing a platform for academic activists."

Peter Lynas, NI director of the Evangelical Alliance, said: "The aim of these events is 'to encourage debate and improve understanding' and yet the speakers seem to be challenging existing law and policy without offering a counter voice. If this is correct, this arrangement must be reviewed as a matter of urgency."

The Research and Information Service failed to respond to a request for comment.

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