Belfast Telegraph

Why the callous disregard of the pro-choice lobby for rights of the unborn leaves me heartbroken

For some activists, even the extension of the 1967 Abortion Act would not be sufficient, writes Nelson McCausland

Recently the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) delivered an important ruling in regard to an advertising campaign in Northern Ireland by the organisation Both Lives Matter, which is pro-life and pro-women.

It seeks “to create a life-affirming culture that values each woman and her unborn child”.

That is what the title of the organisation is referring to.

A fairly new organisation, Both Lives Matter held its first public event on December 5, 2016 at the Northern Ireland Human Rights Festival in spite of criticism from some radical pro-abortionists.

Then, on January 18, it released a report estimating that 100,000 individuals were alive today in Northern Ireland because of the current law here, compared to what would have happened if the 1967 Abortion Act, which applies in England, Scotland and Wales, had been in operation in the province.

Along with the publication of the report, a number of advertising billboards were placed at sites across the province, but the message was challenged by 14 complainants, who submitted their complaints to the ASA.

The ASA met on July 21 and decided that the complaints should not be upheld.

The ruling explained: “On balance, we concluded that the evidence indicated that there was a reasonable probability that around 100,000 people were alive in Northern Ireland today who would have otherwise been aborted had it been legal to do so.”

That is the number of lives which have been saved because the 1967 Act was not introduced in Northern Ireland, and to help us get it in perspective, that figure is equal to 5% of the total population.

Alternatively, it is roughly equal to the combined populations of four of our larger towns: Antrim, Coleraine, Carrickfergus and Ballymena.

That figure of 100,000 lives is worth keeping in mind when we hear pro-abortion activists calling for the 1967 Abortion Act to be introduced in Northern Ireland.

It is an important and impactful figure and that is why pro-abortion activists complained to the ASA; they wanted to stop it appearing on billboards and in newspaper advertisements.

However, their complaints backfired and the ASA confirmed that it was a “reasonable” estimate as to the number of people who were alive who would otherwise have been aborted.

But there is another dimension to this issue, for there are those in Northern Ireland for whom even the 1967 Abortion Act would not be enough.

Last year I took part in a political panel discussion and we were asked about the 1967 Abortion Act.

One of the other panellists said that she wanted the Act introduced in Northern Ireland, but that this would not be enough.

She wanted more, and said that a 28-week limit for abortion would not be good enough.

The chairman pressed her on this and eventually she admitted that she wanted abortion with no time limit.

She was pro-choice and that choice should apply throughout the pregnancy.

She wanted unrestricted abortion up to birth.

It was the first time that I had actually heard someone say that and I was saddened by the callous disregard for the humanity and rights of unborn children.

For many pro-abortionists, the overriding principle, the one that trumps every other consideration, is what they term “choice”, and that position of “abortion up to birth” is simply the outworking of that thinking.

That is the ultimate ambition of the pro-abortion ideologues when they speak of “reproductive autonomy”.

Indeed, some radicals want to take it even beyond that and, in 2011, two academics at the University of Melbourne published a paper entitled: After-birth abortion: why should the baby live? That night, when I heard those words from a political activist, I thought of some words I often read over — that “we are fearfully and wonderfully made”.

There is something truly wonderful about the life of a child, and that includes the life of an unborn child.

Yes, both lives matter, the woman and the unborn child.

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