Parliament: June 6th 2018
Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB)
My Lords, will the Minister agree that the caricature of the people of Northern Ireland as living in some antediluvian society has to be measured against a law that has led in Great Britain to some 9 million abortions—that is one every three minutes, 20 every single hour and 600 every working day, with one in five pregnancies now ended by abortion, and abortion up to and even during birth in the case of babies with disabilities, leading to 90% of all babies with Down’s syndrome being aborted. Is that something that we have a right to export to Northern Ireland, or do we not have a belief in devolution and the right of people in Northern Ireland to make up their mind on that issue for themselves?
Lord O’Shaughnessy (Government Minister)
I would not presume to make a caricature of the people of Northern Ireland in one way or another. What this debate has demonstrated is that there are deeply held beliefs in this area and, of course, there are significant consequences of decisions on abortion law in one regard or another. It has emphasised that those decisions, which are incredibly significant, ought to be made by the people whom they affect, via the elected representatives whom they put in power.
Supreme Court and Northern Ireland
The coverage of the Supreme Court ruling has been highly selective. These are simply non binding opinions and the Court found that the NIHRC had no standing to bring the case.
The unanimous finding of the Court was that there is no human rights requirement to allow for abortion on the grounds of disability.
The Court again reaffirmed that there is no human right to abortion and that there is nothing in the judgment to say that abortion on request is required by human rights law
By contrast, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that everyone has the right to life, and see:
Tell that to the 600 babies whose lives are ended every day in Britain.
Larissa Nolan – and a point of view that deserves to be heard
I am a feminist, a progressive, a liberal and a free thinker – and for all these reasons, I am voting No on Friday.
A must read from Alban Maginness – one of Ireland’s best informed political leaders:
Why an Irish Doctor Says Vote No
And see The Irish Independent
And The Irish Times
And Tim Stanley in the Daily Telegraph
And hear this speech by Maria Steen to the Citizens’ Assembly
Smoking may well kill your unborn child – Abortion most certainly does. There’s no such thing as a safe abortion for a baby in the womb.
Article from the Irish Times
Removal of Eighth would create law more inhumane than Britain’s
Recently, the Irish Government released a paper setting out 21 principles that would inform their prospective abortion legislation, were the Eighth Amendment to be repealed.
Looking at this from a British perspective, it’s worryingly hard not to see shadows of our own law, the Abortion Act 1967.
When it was introduced just over 50 years ago, the 1967 Act was sold to the public and to the Westminster Parliament as a restrictive law. The evidence of half a century, however, shows this claim was utterly empty. The everyday reality in Britain today is that abortion is available on demand, for any reason, up to 24 weeks. In 2016, just over one in five British pregnancies ended in abortion.
The false assurances we heard in 1967 are echoed by certain pro-repeal politicians today, as they claim that abortion law after any removal of Eighth Amendment protections for unborn children would be modest and more restrictive than those across the Irish Sea. The truth is that, if anything, it would create a law not just as permissive and inhumane as Britain’s – but even more so.
The reason why the Abortion Act has led to abortion on demand is because section 1(1)(a) of the Act allows abortion under what we now call Ground C: when two doctors agree that “the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated, of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family”.
‘Mental health’ reasons
Some 97 per cent of all abortions in Britain take place under this ground; 99.8 per cent of which are carried out for “mental health” reasons.
Of course, no evidence exists that abortion helps safeguard mental health. As pro-choice Prof David Fergusson reported in a longitudinal study on mental health and abortion, the “evidence clearly poses a challenge to the use of psychiatric reasons to justify abortion”. Uncoincidentally, no verification is required regarding the alleged underlying psychological condition, nor is even one of the two doctors required to be formally qualified to be able to identify such a condition.
As a consequence of this, abortion in Britain can take place for functionally any reason whatever up to 24 weeks – the explicit “upper limit” introduced in 1990. This has meant a situation of normalised laxity, which a media investigation in 2012 showed even allows for the ugly spectre of misogynistic sex-selective abortion.
This permissive abortion system has not only led to the destruction of girls in the womb, but to the deeply tragic suicides of young women. Examples include 13-year-old Ashli Blake in 2014, whose abortion helped to cover up her sexual abuse; young mother Jade Rees in 2015 after the abortion of her baby daughter, and the artist Emma Beck in 2007 after the abortion of her twin girls.
Compare the British model to the principles of the Irish Government’s Health paper on prospective abortion legislation. These state that under any legislation they introduce, abortions would be provided “without indication” (ie on demand) up to 12 weeks, but also on the grounds of “risk to health” to a pregnant woman with no gestational restriction.
Moreover, no distinction would be made between physical and mental health. This would establish the same supposedly limited “health grounds” for abortion as in UK law, but by crucial contrast, with no “upper limit” applying in such cases. This would lead to a de facto situation of abortion on demand, for any reason, up to birth.
“Any reason” would include the sex-selective abortion that has been shown to be possible in British practice. The Stop Gendercide campaign started by women’s groups Jeena International and Karma Nirvana, in analysing currently debated proposals for permissive abortion on the Isle of Man, has noted that due to improvements in prenatal testing technology, foetal gender can now be detected after seven weeks’ gestation. Not only would introducing abortion on demand up to 12 weeks formally legalise sex-selective abortion in the first trimester, but providing de facto abortion on demand would enable sex-selection throughout all of pregnancy.
While the Irish Government’s proposals may seem restrictive, just as the Abortion Act did in the 1960s, long British experience shows that any legislation enacted based on their “principles” would introduce a radically permissive abortion regime all throughout pregnancy.
Ireland would suffer a system even more extreme than the British, which itself has destroyed so many lives, not only of unborn children, but of pregnant mothers. Both lives matter: every life counts.
In considering how to vote in the upcoming referendum, I hope the Irish public realises that if the Eighth Amendment is repealed, the Republic would go down a road even darker than that of British practice. Knowing this, I hope voters will opt instead to Vote No to maintain Ireland’s Constitution as a civilised standard of human dignity and rights.
David Alton is a member of the House of Lords and a long-time anti-abortion campaigner
Join The Rebellion And Vote No – Because Both Lives Matter
Smoking may well kill your unborn child – Abortion most certainly does.
Secular and Religious Voices Unite To Urge Ireland To Vote No And To Insist That Both Lives Matter
As Ireland faces a referendum on whether to introduce British-style laws to allow the abortion of babies in the womb (and which in Britain have led to one abortion every three minutes) there has been an increase in opposition to such change from secular and religious voices.
Wendy Grace in a really succinct and well-argued article puts the case for a No vote which deserves to be shared far and wide. https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/a-no-vote-is-our-opportunity-to-do-better-for-women-and-babies-36878030.html#
Ms Grace says “We are at a key moment in Irish history where we have the opportunity to be truly progressive, unlike countries in the past, we cannot plead ignorance, with this knowledge comes a responsibility.
“I refuse to be part of a system that pits mother against baby. This is not equality. Abortion is the tragic sign that the real needs of women are not being met.
A No vote is our opportunity to unite together and say we can do a lot better for women, for babies, for Ireland.”
The latest poll in the Sunday Independent shows more and more people joining the rebellion: You can find it here-https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/abortion-referendum/poll-young-urban-women-giving-yes-side-referendum-edge-but-it-is-a-narrow-lead-36877996.html. While Yes remains in the lead, their lead has dramatically declined since February.
Archbishop Eamon Martin has spoken out with great clarity and profession arguing that both lives matter. His interview to the Belfast Telegraph can be read at:
The Archbishop said: “Those who are voting can be in no doubt that this is not just the removal of an amendment in order to be compassionate in hard cases, such as rape, incest or life-threatening situations.
“This is the removal of the only remaining protection for unborn life in order to introduce a very liberal abortion regime which, I believe, the people of Ireland do not want.
“The Supreme Court has told us that once you remove the eighth amendment, there is no recognition at all for the rights of the unborn.
“Once that is gone, I find it difficult to believe that we would not move to probably becoming one of the most liberal abortion regimes in the world.
“Once we elevate personal choice above the right to life, where do we stand?
“If we enshrine in our laws the right to choose to end life, where does that place us? I see this not as a Church versus State battle, but as an opportunity to highlight that we must choose life and not death.”
Archbishop Martin said that abortion was “not a matter of private choice but of the common good”. “Society can never tolerate the direct and intentional taking of innocent human life, and I am conscious that many of my brothers and sisters in other Christian denominations and in other faiths hold a similar view.”
He also stated his belief that the outcome of the referendum was not a foregone conclusion and that many people are still undecided.
“I would like to think that when people go in to vote that they will pause, listen to their heartbeat, look at the fingerprints, and realise they have had these since they themselves were in the womb.
“I would love them to think of two lives as they make their decision.”
The Irish Times also has a report on a host of pastoral letters read out in parishes across the Republic this past Sunday. https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/bishops-warn-against-abortion-on-demand-1.3487675
Underlining that this view is echoed across denominations, the Church of Ireland Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Ken Good, has trenchantly spelt out his opposition to the proposed changes https://www.donegalnow.com/news/bishop-derry-raphoe-rt-rev-ken-good-referendum-eighth-amendment/223252.
“Often, in the past, the protection of vulnerable women and children in Ireland left a lot to be desired, but legislating now to allow the lives of the most defenceless among us to be terminated is not the answer.”
For the Child In The Womb there is no such thing as “a safe abortion”…
Join The Rebellion: 8 million reasons for voting no… Opposition echoed by Ireland’s former Taoiseach
8 million Reasons For Voting NO: Click on this link –