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Now's the time for fresh and honest discussion on implications of our current law regarding abortion

letter of the day: reflecting on 1967 act

Alban Maginness (Comment, November 1) is to be fully commended: it is a very sobering moment as we reflect, after 50 years, on the impact of the 1967 Abortion Act in England and Wales.

Claire Bailey MLA responded (Write Back, November 3), purportedly on a basis of evidence and truth.

Ms Bailey suggested, but failed to adduce any evidence, that abortion rates are lower in England and Wales than in Northern Ireland.

I would encourage readers to read the judgment regarding Both Lives Matter from the Advertising Standards Authority for themselves to see how robustly the 100,000 lives estimate was investigated by an independent medical statistician. Our law has protected lives and women from abortion.

Often, when our local political representatives are asked to engage in a debate about abortion legislation, it falls to the question of whether they are in favour of the 1967 Abortion Act being brought to Northern Ireland.

Many politicians and lobby groups - from all sides - will reply, stating that they are not in favour of the extension of the 1967 Act.

Some say this to mean that they are not supportive of wide-scale access to abortion, but others use the same rejection of the 1967 Act, because they want even more access to abortion than the Act allows. They use the language of "trusting women" and "my body, my choice" to soften the fact that they seek access to abortion under any circumstance up to birth.

In an age when truth is contested, let's be clear that the debate is no longer about the 1967 Abortion Act.

It's time to have a new and honest conversation about how our laws and services can protect and enable both lives as far as possible. It's time to re-humanise the conversation.

MARION WOODS

Chairperson, Life NI and spokesperson, Both Lives Matter

Belfast Telegraph

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