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20 / 11 / 2009 - Precious Life challenge Northern Ireland Health Minister on abortion figures
Precious Life has written to the Health Minister for Northern Ireland requesting information on the release of official figures which revealed that 92 babies were killed by abortion 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 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.
Director of Precious Life, Bernadette Smyth is demanding answers from Mr McGimpsey on why these babies were killed.
The full text of the letter:
Dear Mr McGimpsey,
Under the Freedom of Information Act, I request the following information regarding your written answer to Mr Pat Ramsey’s question - How many terminations of pregnancies have been carried out in the last five years broken down by the reasons for the terminations (AQW 2010/10)
You will be aware that in Northern Ireland, abortion still comes under the criminal law. It is a very serious offence to cause the death of an unborn child. The only defence a doctor would have is to prove the death occurred as an unintentional result of providing life-saving treatment to the unborn child’s mother.
Your answer to Mr Pat Ramsey raises a number of other questions:
1. Why are the abortion figures you released in your written answer to Mr Pat Ramsey (AQW 2010/10) different from the abortion figures you released in December 2008 (written answer to Mr Simon Hamilton (AQW 2577/09))?
2. What are the figures for the numbers of abortion carried out in the last five years broken down by:
(i) gestational age ?
(ii) method of abortion ?
3. What life-threatening conditions were doctors treating that resulted in the deaths of the unborn babies?
4. Were any of these babies born alive before they died. If so, what treament were they given?
5. Were death certificates issued for these babies?
6. What happened to the bodies of these babies?
7. If there is no information available on the reasons for these abortions, how do the DHSSPS ensure that no illegal abortions are carried out in Northern Ireland’s hospitals?
The circumstances behind each and every one of these abortions must be opened to public scrutiny. There must be proper accountability regarding the death of any unborn child. Your Department has an obligation to ensure it is not supporting criminal activity by being negligent.