Belfast Telegraph

Irish abortion referendum: 'Demolition of protection for unborn a death sentence,' says Northern Ireland minister

The firebrand Free Presbyterian minister, Reverend Ian Brown described the Irish Abortion referendum result repealing the 8th amendment on abortion to the Republic's constitution as a "death sentence" on the country's potential population.

The minister of the late Reverend Ian Paisley's Martyrs Memorial Free Presbyterian Church in Belfast said that while society was "obliged" to offer care and compassion to those women "caught in extreme circumstances," the 'Yes' campaign ahead of the referendum centred on "those emotive margins to gain its advantage".

He also claimed that the majority of women seeking an abortion did so for "socio-economic reasons" and it was "extremely disingenuous and dangerous to ignore the fact".

The minister said those that "celebrated this event with the kind of enthusiasm that is more typical of a pop concert may not even realise the extent of what they have done".

On Friday the Republic of Ireland voted overwhelming to repeal the eighth amendment to the Irish Constitution. It has led to pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May to enact UK laws on abortion in Northern Ireland, which now remains the only part of the UK and Ireland where abortion remains illegal.

DUP leader Arlene Foster said the result would have no impact on Northern Ireland.

In a statement, Rev Brown described the result as an "inevitable consequence of secularisation".

"Much of Ireland imagines they have joined the ranks of the liberated as a result of the demolition of its constitutional protection for the unborn," he said.

"It does not seem to care that by the same action it has effectively delivered a death sentence on a significant percentage of its potential population."

He continued: "Actions of this nature are the inevitable consequence of secularisation. As belief in God and awareness of His Word declines, so does resistance to abortion laws. It’s a matter of anthropology: when man believes himself to be a random event instead of a purposeful creation, he will inevitably draw the same conclusion about those both within him and around him. This will then enable him to weigh lives on utilitarian scales and so make distinctions about their respective value. "

On Monday a rally was held at Belfast City Hall calling for a change to Northern Ireland abortion laws and on Thursday a group of around 20 women are planning to openly break the law by driving a bus around Northern Ireland distributing abortion pills. Some activists say they will take the tablets in defiance of what they call "archaic legislation".

DUP MP Sammy Wilson said it would be "hypocritical" for Parliament to change the law in Northern Ireland unless the government decided to impose direct rule. Anti-abortion activists have also written to Mrs May urging her not to change the law which they claim has ensured 100,000 people are alive today "who would otherwise have been aborted".

Rev Brown  continued: "The Bible makes it plain that God considers even the deliberate abandonment of one’s child as an extreme example of heartlessness (Isaiah 49:15); and does not distinguish between the value of the child in the womb and the child who has made it into the world, using exactly the same word to describe both (Luke 1:41&44; Luke 18:15).

"We are obliged to show compassion and offer care to the small percentage of women who are caught in extreme circumstances, though while the ‘Yes' campaign centred its focus on those emotive margins to gain its advantage, it is extremely disingenuous and dangerous to ignore the fact that the overwhelming majority of women who have presented themselves for abortion have done so for socio-economic reasons."

Over 2.1million votes were cast in Friday's referendum, a turnout of 64%. Over 1.4m voted to repeal while over 700,000 voted 'No'. The Donegal constituency was the only of the republic's 40 areas to reject a change in the law with 51% voting 'No'.

"The result of this referendum is a terrible outcome for everyone. People who have celebrated this event with the kind of enthusiasm that is more typical of a pop concert may not even realise the extent of what they have done; declaring their freedom even as they are delivered into the chains of their own judgment," said Rev Brown.

"When men sin with abandonment, God gives them over to sin that they may be consumed by it. They pour the drink into the glass with gladness, but do not yet realise that they will be made to drink it with grief, every last drop.

"Which is why the majority in County Donegal, plus the minority across the rest of the Republic of Ireland, who voted to preserve the lives of both mother and child, deserve our humble thanks – and all the efforts of those who are now determined to extend the stretch of the killing fields to Northern Ireland should be implacably resisted."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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