Jim Wells: Why should abortion law that saved many lives be subject to change?
During yesterday's Nolan Show, various statistics were quoted regarding the number of unborn children who had their lives ended as a result of the 1967 Abortion Act.
At the outset can I make it absolutely clear that I believe that life begins at conception.
It does not matter whether a life is 12 weeks, 24 weeks or 24 years from the point of conception, it is still a life and a caring society should have as its absolute priority the protection of all of its citizens.
During the Second World War, 490,000 British citizens died along with 419,000 American combatants. In addition, six million perished in concentration camps.
Having witnessed such a colossal loss of life during the war, it would have been expected that the UK would have done everything in its power to prevent any further deaths on this dreadful scale.
What Parliament did however was to introduce the 1967 Abortion Act which has led to the death of 9.2m unborn children — a figure which easily exceeds all those who perished in the war from Britain, the USA and the concentration camps combined.
As a direct result of the fact that the Northern Ireland Parliament did not extend the 1967 Abortion Act to this part of the UK, there are 102,000 people alive in the province today who would not be here had we had abortion on demand.
If we followed the example of England, Scotland and Wales, we would have added to their appalling total of 9.2m lost lives.
On the Nolan Show there were frequent references to what are termed the ‘difficult cases’ but it is worth noting that 98.8% of abortions carried out in Britain ended the lives of babies who were totally healthy and who had not been conceived as a result of sexual crime.
The average woman in Britain who has had an abortion is 32, married and already has two children.
These are not crisis pregnancies but unwanted or inconvenient pregnancies. Last year 70,000 women in the rest of the UK had their second abortion and 50 had their eighth termination.
I have a friend who was told by several consultants that her unborn baby could not survive when she had a 10-week scan. At 24 weeks she was given the same information but refused to have an abortion.
Her son was born normally and had heart surgery. He has a life expectancy of 74 years and recently sung at a church service I attended. The experts can get it wrong but even if his life had only lasted two hours, two weeks or two months I strongly believe that he had a right to that life, no matter how short.
Since the referendum in the Irish Republic, I have made it very clear that I see no need to change the law which has saved so many lives in Northern Ireland.
I have received messages of support from right across Northern Ireland where many people are horrified about what is happening in the Irish Republic and are urging me to stand firm in the defence of our most defenceless citizens — the unborn. Many of these people are from the nationalist community who now feel frustrated and voiceless as a result of the policy changes by the SDLP and Sinn Fein.
I have committed myself to represent their sincerely held views on this crucial issue.