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18 / 07 / 2008 - N. Ireland Assembly Member embroiled in fresh controversy after abortion debate
THE wife of the First Minister became involved in a fresh controversy yesterday when she suggested that the role of Government was "to uphold the laws of God".
At the beginning of June she was embroiled in controversy when she said that homosexual people who wished to change their sexuality could do so with psychiatric counselling.
And yesterday, during a debate on the same radio show, she was the subject of a backlash when she said it was the Government's duty to look to the Bible for guidance on legislation.
Pro-life campaigner Bernie Smyth and Mrs Robinson, wife of First Minister Peter Robinson, united to argue at length on the BBC's Nolan Show that scientific evidence shows abortion has a serious long-term impact on the physical and mental health of women who go through it.
Mrs Robinson challenged journalist Eamonn McCann as to whether he supported the "crushing of heads" of unborn children and whether or not "the world was a better place" for giving 13-year-old girls in Britain the right to have abortions without their parents' knowledge.
Mr McCann responded that the physical pulling apart of the unborn child was more common in late pregnancies.
And he said these were more common in Northern Ireland women because they required more time to travel to Great Britain for abortions.
He then raised the issue of whether women who were well informed about abortion should have the "right to choose what happens" in their pregnancy.
Mrs Robinson responded: "The Government has a responsibility to uphold God's law, morally..." to which Mr McCann responded: "Now we are down to it...it's not science at all is it? it is not the interests of the woman, it's all to do with God's law."
Mrs Robinson responded: "Oh come off it, I am standing for the rights of the unborn child that doesn't have a voice."
Several callers then objected to the idea of legislation being based on the Bible, while other callers defended her statement.
Elaborating on her comments yesterday, Mrs Robinson said: "We are called to uphold the laws of God, Government is ordained by God and is bound to uphold His laws.
"For example, the Bible tells me it is the Government's role to uphold laws against killing and stealing in order to keep society stable.
"When the Prime Minister takes office he takes an oath on the Bible that his conduct be of the highest standard and there is also a Bible in the dispatch box where he speaks," she said, adding that British Common Law, the foundation of the UK legal system, is based upon biblical law.
Where the majority of an electorate hold a primarily Christian view, she said, it is perfectly acceptable for them to vote for legislation in line with that thinking.
Asked if Churches should have the final say in making legislation, she said that the real democratic issue was that the Government was increasingly legislating against the will of the people.
"In Northern Ireland they introduced civil partnerships against the clear and explicit will of the vast majority of the people," she said.
"The Government does not follow the direction that the majority of voters want.
For example, the people want a return to capital punishment but the Government will not hear of it.
“We are now having children of 13 being allowed to have abortions without the knowledge of their parents and the morning after pill now widely available; the Government is ignoring the widely held Christian views of many people across the UK in how it is legislating,” she added.
Source : Newsletter.co.uk