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13 / 12 / 2012 - Assembly Members at Stormont unite for major Conference against abortion
by Bernadette Smyth
DIRECTOR, PRECIOUS LIFE
A major Seminar on abortion held in Stormont on Tuesday 11th December was an great success in highlighting the dangers of turning the crime of abortion into a medical issue.
The "Seminar on the Risks of Medicalising the Crime of Abortion" was organised by Precious Life and hosted by the All Party Pro-Life Group of the Northern Ireland Assembly (APPLG) - in the Long Gallery in Parliament Buildings.
APPLG members, Jim Allister MLA, Alban Magennis MLA and Jim Wells MLA said the Group was unified in their opposition to abortion and the Seminar came at an opportune time to give a clear understanding of why we should not 'medicalise’ a crime.
The event was well attended by politicians, health professionals, church leaders and students who heard how providing essential medical treatment to save the life of a pregnant woman is fundamentally different from the crime of abortion.
The eminent Speakers at the Seminar were senior experts in the legal and health professions:
Dr John Monaghan, DCH, FRCPI, FRCOG - a Consultant Obstetrician/ Gynaecologist for over 30 years, and also a member of the Irish Medical Council.
Dr. Seán Ó Domhnaill, MB BCh BAO DPM MRCPsych Dip. CBT, Medicine & Psychiatry - a Consultant General Adult Psychiatrist with special expertise in medical and legal aspects of psychiatry.
Mrs Johanna Higgins LLB, of the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland, the Kings Inns, Dublin and the Inner Temple, London, Barrister - a criminal barrister with over 15 years experience as a senior public prosecutor.
Both Dr Monaghan and Dr Ó Domhnaill said abortion has no part in protecting women’s lives or psychological health, but rather the opposite was the case. They highlighted numerous cases of women who had died following abortion, or who were left with devastating psychological consequences.
Quoting from her historic legal document - 'Statement of Law against Abortion and Child Destruction in Northern Ireland' - Mrs Higgins emphasised that the core purpose of the law against abortion in Northern Ireland is for the protection of the unborn child. She said, “Abortion is not ‘legal in certain circumstances’; this is stating the law ‘upside down’ – Abortion is a criminal offence and has nothing to do with medical treatment. It must remain firmly in the criminal law. ”
This conference expelled the myth that abortion is necessary to save pregnant mothers’ lives.
Mr Jim Wells (DUP) added, “We as legislators will find the information presented here today very useful in battle ahead. Our laws against abortion have saved us from losing 93,000 people in Northern Ireland – men, women, doctors, lawyers, teachers, even Assembly Members – who might not be here if the 1967 Abortion Act had been extended here.”
Mr Jim Allister (TUV), said “It is always right and necessary to remember that the starting point in this issue is that abortion is a crime according to our criminal law.”
Mr Alban Magennis (SDLP), in closing the Seminar, welcomed the cross-party agreement in protecting unborn children. He said “Even though we are from different parties and have differing views on many issues, we are united in our opposition to abortion.” He said there are powerful forces trying to legalise abortion in Ireland – North and South. Mr Magennis concluded “..But we have this Assembly to protect life – let’s use it! - we must protect the unborn child.”
It is so encouraging to know our elected representatives will continue protecting the lives of pregnant mothers with good healthcare – and ensure that the killing of unborn babies remains a crime. As I've said time and time again, Northern Ireland has the most pro-life government in Europe.