Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Abortion figures must be explained by Minister

Official figures released in response to an Assembly question asked by SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey revealed that almost two babies a week were aborted in Northern Ireland in 2008 ('Legal abortion rate in Northern Ireland sparks row', November 11).

In Northern Ireland, abortion still comes under the criminal law. It is a very serious offence to cause the death of an unborn child. The only defence a doctor would have is to prove the death occurred as an unintentional result of providing life-saving treatment to the unborn child's mother.

The release of these figures raises all sorts of questions. What life-threatening conditions were doctors treating at the rate of almost two-per-week that resulted in the deaths of 92 babies? What happened to the bodies of the babies? Were death certificates issued?

The circumstances behind each and every one of these abortions must be opened to public scrutiny. The doctors who performed the abortions must be challenged and police must be called in to investigate the legality of their actions.

Another question which must be asked is: why these latest figures are different from figures the Health Minister Michael McGimpsey released in a written answer to DUP MLA Mr Simon Hamilton only 11 months ago?

I challenge Mr McGimpsey to explain these discrepancies. There must be proper accountability regarding the death of any unborn child. The Department of Health has an obligation to ensure it is not supporting criminal activity by being negligent.

BERNADETTE SMYTH

Director, Precious Life

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