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09 / 11 / 2007 - Official Launch of the All-Party Pro-Life Group of the Northern Ireland Assembly
Precious Life were praised for their lobbying of MPs and Assembly Members which was instrumental in the setting up of the ‘All-Party Pro-Life Group of the Northern Ireland Assembly’.
The official launch of the Group was on Friday 2nd November 2007. The event in Parliament Buildings, Belfast, was hosted by the DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson and the SDLP’s Pat Ramsey. They said that it was their meetings with Precious Life that gave them the inspiration and confidence to set up the All Party Pro-life Group.
The keynote speaker at the event was Dr Alveda C. King - the niece of the American Civil Rights leader, Martin Luther King. The audience included Assembly Members; Catholic and Protestant Clergy; medical and legal professionals; and pro-life groups from across the UK and Ireland.
Other speakers at the event included Mrs Iris Robinson MP MLA and chairperson of the Assembly Health Committee; Professor Patricia Casey, Professor of Psychiatry UCD; Mrs Johanna Higgins, Barrister; Mrs Bernadette Smyth, Director of Precious Life.
Keynote speaker Dr Alveda King talked about her own abortion, and why she now speaks out for the civil rights of unborn children. In reference to her uncle’s famous “I have a dream…” speech, Dr King asked “how can the dream survive if we murder the children? Every aborted baby is like a slave in the womb of his or her mother.” She also spoke about her role as national spokeswoman for Silent No More Awareness - a campaign to make the public aware of the devastation abortion brings to women, men, and their families.
There were also messages of support from ‘All Party Pro-Life Groups’ in Westminster and Washington.
The official launch of the All-Party Pro-Life Group of the Northern Ireland Assembly was a truly historic day for Northern Ireland — members of different political parties coming together united in the core belief - the protection of human life from conception until natural death.
The All-Party Pro-Life Group of the Northern Ireland Assembly will provide a forum within the Assembly for the promotion of the sanctity of human life. With the help of Precious Life and the pro-life movement in Northern Ireland, the Group will work within the Assembly to promote this vital cause. Their work will encompass raising relevant issues within the Assembly, convening regular meetings within the Assembly, and producing reports and briefing material on Government policy and legislation.
The inaugural meeting of the All-Party Pro-Life Group of the Northern Ireland Assembly was held on Tuesday 9th October 2007. Mr. Jeffrey Donaldson was nominated as chairman; Mr. Pat Ramsey as vice-chairman; and Dr. Kieran Deeny as secretary. During the meeting, the Group affirmed they would do everything within their power to oppose any attempt to extend the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland, and any other attempts to liberalise the law on abortion here. They also pledged to support a motion tabled by Mr. Jeffrey Donaldson and Mrs. Iris Robinson in opposition to draft guidelines on abortion which had been issued by the Department of Health in January 2007. Legal experts had warned that the guidelines would change how the law on abortion is interpreted and effectively legalise abortion in Northern Ireland ‘through the back door.’
On Monday 22nd October 2007, the motion was passed with an overwhelming majority. This was the first - and certainly not the last - victory for the All-Party Pro-Life Group of the Northern Ireland Assembly in their efforts to protect human life from conception until natural death.
Dr Alveda King, Bernadette Smyth (Precious Life), Johanna Higgins (Barrister), Lynn Coles (Silent No More Regional Co-ordinator) in Parliament Buildings at the Official Launch of the All-Party Pro-Life Group of the Northern Ireland Assembly