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11 / 11 / 2009 - Precious Life call for police investigation into N. Ireland abortions
Precious Life are calling for a police investigation following the release of official figures which revealed that 92 abortions were carried out in Northern Ireland during 2008. The pro-life group has also challenged the Health Minister to explain the discrepancies in the latest figures which differ from figures he released 11 months ago.
The latest official figures were released in response to an assembly question by SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey who asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety how many terminations of pregnancies have been carried out in the last five years. A similar question was asked in December 2008 by DUP MLA Mr Simon Hamilton.
Precious Life are calling for the circumstances behind the abortions in Northern Ireland hospitals to be opened to public scrutiny. They also said that the doctors who performed the abortions must be challenged about the legality of their actions and also called for police investigations into any believed to have been carried out illegally.
Director of Precious Life, Bernadette Smyth, said: “These figures raise all sorts of questions. In Northern Ireland, abortion still comes under the criminal law. It is a very serious offence to take the life of an unborn child. The only defence is when the death of the child occurs as an unintentional result of providing life saving treatment to the mother. We want to know why each and every one of these abortions were carried out.”
“We also want to know what happened to the bodies of the babies and whether birth certificates or death certificates were issued. If any of the abortions were illegal, the medical staff involved must be questioned by police and charged.”
Mrs Smyth also challenged the Health Minister Mr Michael McGimpsey to explain the discrepancies between the latest figures and the figures he released in December 2008.
“In a written answer last December, Mr McGimpsey said that in Northern Ireland there were 59 abortions carried out in 2004, 82 in 2005, 69 in 2006, and 99 in 2007* (*the 2007 figure was provisional and subject to change). But now, only eleven months later he says there were 67 abortions carried out in 2004, 64 in 2005, 80 in 2006, and 79 in 2007” she said.
Bernadette Smyth concluded, “At best, this smacks of sheer incompetence. At worst, it smacks of a cover-up. Has the Department something to hide? Are they covering up illegal abortions? If his Department cannot explain the discrepancies in the figures, then Mr McGimpsey should resign.”