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Abortion vote: In face of pressure our politicians did the right thing

By Bernie Smyth

Published 12/02/2016

Bernie Smyth
Bernie Smyth

Alliance Party MLAs Trevor Lunn's and Stewart Dickson's proposed amendment was calling for the fatal discrimination of unborn children with life-limiting disabilities. It was riddled with terminology that incited fear, despair, and, ultimately, death.

'Fatal' is not a medical diagnosis and cannot be defined. No healthcare professional can determine that an unborn child will certainly die before, during, or immediately after birth. To claim that an unborn baby with anencephaly is 'brain dead', 'has no brain', or is 'just a dead body' or has the potential to 'poison' his or her mother, is horrifyingly misleading and inexcusable. It is simply not true.

Precious Life was confident that the majority of MLAs would vote against this amendment and Anna Lo MLA's amendment calling for abortion in cases of rape. The people of Northern Ireland had responded readily to the threat of legalised abortion by lobbying their elected MLAs.

Thanks to their efforts, during Wednesday's debate many MLAs expressed their deepest concerns that women and their babies were not receiving the care and support they deserved and acknowledged that hard cases only make bad law.

Wednesday's results demonstrate the importance of being involved in lobby campaigns and, contrary to what Amnesty International would argue, that the elected representatives in Stormont are very much 'in step' with the views of the people.

Precious Life would like to thank all the MLAs who voted against the amendments. In the face of such ferocious pressure to legalise the killing of unborn children, they had the wisdom, courage, and true compassion to see that abortion is not the answer. They did the right thing, to protect mothers and uphold the right to life of all unborn children.

Finally, Precious Life is hopeful that the DUP's proposed working group will achieve a better way forward for mothers and their babies in these heartbreaking circumstances. We look forward to advising on better provision of perinatal care in every hospital throughout Northern Ireland.

Bernie Smyth is director of pro-life group Precious Life

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