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14 / 07 / 2010 - Precious Life give "guarded welcome" for withdrawal of Northern Ireland Abortion Guidelines
Precious Life has given a guarded welcome to the news that the Northern Ireland Department of Health has withdrawn controversial guidelines on abortion. Precious Life said it was a vindication of their long-running campaign for the removal of the guidelines. However, the pro-life group warned that they will remain vigilant because of the Department's "arrogance and contempt" in the past.
In a letter sent to Mr Jim Wells, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Assembly's Health Committee, the Department announced that the Health Minister had withdrawn its guidelines on abortion and would be launching a new public consultation.
Director of Precious Life, Bernadette Smyth said, “We welcome the news that these guidelines have been withdrawn. Our assessment that the guidelines were legally and medically flawed has been vindicated.”
“Precious Life has spent years battling the guidelines. We have argued from the beginning that they would be used to legalise abortion ‘through the back door’ Our ‘Not In My Name’ Campaign opposing the guidelines involved collecting thousands of petition signatures from the public, letter writing to Department of Health, and lobbying and meeting members of the Northern Ireland Assembly.”
Mrs Smyth added, “While we welcome the news of the withdrawal of the guidelines, we still don't trust the Department of Health. In the past they have displayed only arrogance and contempt for the courts and for the views of the people in Northern Ireland. They have ignored the thousands of petitions we collected, ignored Assembly motions opposing the guidelines, and ignored legal rulings to withdraw the guidelines. They have continued to issue rehashed versions of their flawed guidelines first published in 2007.”
Bernadette Smyth concluded “We’ll be keeping a sharp eye on what happens now. We will continue to lobby our Assembly to ensure the new consultation process will be for completely new guidelines, with input from pro-life medical and legal experts. Any future guidance issued by Department of Health must clearly outline the illegality of abortion, and fully acknowledge the right to life of our unborn children and their protection in law”