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14 / 02 / 2013 - `1861 Offences Against The Person Act` is an all-Ireland safeguard for unborn children
In December, the Irish Government announced their plan to introduce legislation for “abortion in limited circumstances.”
Changing the law on abortion in the south of Ireland will have serious consequences for the whole of Ireland. The battle to protect unborn children on this island is an all-Ireland battle. If abortion is legalised in the Republic, we will see abortion centres opening in Dublin - only a two-hour drive from Belfast. We could even see abortion centres springing-up in Monaghan, Cavan and Donegal. In this battle to protect our unborn babies there is no ‘border’.
Many people and groups have fallen into the trap of accepting the Irish government’s attempt to ‘medicalise’ the crime of abortion. But abortion is NOT a health issue. It is a very serious criminal offence under sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against The Person Act 1861. The core purpose of these sections is for the protection of the unborn child. This, however, does not stop doctors from providing all genuine life-saving treatment that a pregnant mother may require. This is fundamentally different from the crime of abortion.
The 1861 Act, which applies in both jurisdictions, is an all-Ireland safeguard for unborn children. So if the Irish government legalises abortion in ‘certain circumstances’ then law-makers will in fact become law-breakers.
When Marie Stopes International opened their illegal ‘abortion centre’ in Belfast in October 2012, the Attorney General for Northern Ireland referred to the Offences Against The Person Act, when he clearly stated, “…abortion in Northern Ireland is a criminal offence.”
There can be no compromise on the absolute protection of human life. The message that must continually be hammered home is, abortion is a criminal issue NOT a medical issue.
The danger of the Irish Government legalising any form of limited abortion is that it will open the floodgates to abortion-on-demand.
In what most people saw as a reference to the current situation in Ireland, Pope Benedict XVI stated in January that he noted “…with dismay that, in various countries, even those of Christian tradition, efforts are being made to introduce or expand legislation which decriminalises abortion.”
In a recent interview on an American Radio station, His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke, - Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura – said,
“…if Ireland should abandon its strong position against abortion, it will simply go down a road that many countries have already gone down …Once abortion is decriminalised it becomes an ever expanding reality in society and it generates a whole culture of death.”
The Irish Government must heed the views of the vast majority of people in Ireland - north and south - who want our unborn children to remain protected in law, policy, and practice.
Director, Precious Life
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