Your columnist Laurence White accuses Precious Life of using "scare tactics" in our campaign opposing the abortion guidelines issued by the Department of Health (October 5).
He claims that our campaign literature is wrong in stating that the guidelines will take away the right of medical practitioners to refuse to participate in an abortion on grounds of conscience. However, the facts in our campaign literature have been verified by medical and legal experts.
'Conscientious Objection' is dealt with in Section 4 of the guidelines. It must first be noted that a case of 'Conscientious Objection' to abortion would only arise in a jurisdiction where abortion is legal. Causing the death of an unborn child is illegal in Northern Ireland. If the Department of Health claim their guidelines will not change the law here, then why have they introduced a concept which is only required where abortion is legal?
The guidelines state: "The right to object on grounds of conscientious objection should be recognised and respected", but then imposes a limit on this 'right' by stating "except in circumstances where the woman's life is in immediate danger and emergency action needs to be taken".
This implies that there are emergency circumstances when abortion is needed to save a pregnant woman's life. This is totally wrong. There are no circumstances when when the life of a pregnant woman can only be saved by abortion.
In pregnancy, both the mother and her unborn child must be treated as patients. If the mother develops a life threatening condition, then the doctor must administer to the mother, while ensuring all medical intervention is made to save the life of the child. If the child dies, this is not an 'abortion'. Abortion is when a doctor performs the procedure with the specific and deliberate intent to kill the child. This is always ethically wrong and is illegal in Northern Ireland.
Precious Life will continue their campaign calling on the Executive to withdraw its approval of these guidelines.
Director, Precious Life