Letter: Women and their children in Northern Ireland need hope, resources and support, not abortion

In a recent Irish News piece published on Tuesday 26 May, abortion activist Goretti Horgan tried — and failed miserably — to refute the public perception of Northern Ireland’s new abortion law as extreme. In the ruthless opinion piece, Horgan claims that the abortion regime, imposed over the heads of the NI electorate by the UK Government, is “not at all extreme.” In the same breath, however, she admits that the ferocious new abortion law permits the killing of full term babies. 

“The new law allows ‘abortion up to birth’ we are told. Well, yes, but there is nothing new about that,” Horgan writes, dismissing with a callous apathy the tens of thousands of babies who die in excruciating pain in late term abortions each year in the UK. Her blasé attitude towards the horror and violence of abortion up to birth is all the more startling when we consider that up to 20,000 babies are killed in late term abortions in Britain each year (Approximately 10% of the 200,000 abortions in the UK are late-term according to the yearly Department of Health Statistics). The reality of even one child being killed in this way, for the average, decent and sane-thinking person, is stomach-churning.

Horgan justifies the extremity of the Westminster-imposed abortion regime by pointing to the Irish Citizens’ Assembly recommendations on abortion, which were treated as Holy Grail for the Irish government and its pro-abortion allies. She writes as though the Assembly — made up of 99 members who voted overwhelmingly for the repeal of the eighth amendment in the South — should be held up as some sort of shining example of fairness and impartiality. Yet, it’s hard to forget the fierce criticism which was rightfully directed at the so-called Citizens’ Assembly in 2017 for its astounding bias in favour of the pro-abortion position.

The Citizens’ Assembly is the same group which brought itself into disrepute by hosting abortion extremists from BPAS and the Guttmacher Institute — those who make a living from abortion — and presenting them as impartial experts. The recommendations of the Republic’s Citizens’ Assembly should be rendered null and void, especially in relation to the situation here, when we consider that not a single citizen in Northern Ireland has been able to have a say on this appalling law coming into force — so much for democracy.

The real Citizens’ Assembly in Northern Ireland in fact, consisted of the tens of thousands of people who marched on Belfast City Centre and at Stormont in record-breaking pro-life rallies in September 2019. Additionally, an overwhelming 79% of the 21,000 people who responded to the recent NIO’s Public Consultation on abortion law in Northern Ireland were opposed to the introduction of any form of abortion. The consensus has never been clearer – there is no public support for this abortion regime.

In what is arguably the most nauseating part of the article, Horgan attempts to justify disability-selective abortion which is permitted under this legislation. “This regulation does not make any judgement about the lives of disabled people because an embryo or foetus is not a person,” she writes. There is so much wrong with this statement that it’s hard to know where to begin.

Whilst Horgan is entitled to her own opinions, she is not entitled to her own facts. An embryo or a foetus (the Latin phrase for ‘little one’) is just as much part of the human race as you or I. Any embryology textbook will tell you the factual reality; life begins at conception and a human foetus is just that – human. These are necessary, scientific stages of human development. It is truly farcical that an academic such as Horgan could claim that a living, breathing, developing unborn child is not a human being.

Horgan also uses a tool employed by many abortion activists; that of exploiting the most marginal and tragic cases to push for a broad-based abortion platform. Using the pain and suffering of victims of rape to try and justify the death of any child, for any reason, is cruel and must be resolutely rejected. The truth is that the so-called ‘hard cases’ have been used by abortion activists for years as a ruse for bringing in abortion for any and every reason. 

More importantly, by singling out children conceived in rape or sexual crime over others, what sort of message is Horgan sending out to those who are mothers from rape, or those among us who were conceived themselves in such circumstances? Are their lives somehow worth less because of how they were conceived? That is the unequivocal, ugly message it sends to society.

No, abortion does not need to be available across Northern Ireland. Women and their children need hope, real support and life-affirming resources, not the death and destruction of abortion. In an age of 4D ultrasound scans, and at a time when we are witnessing nations worldwide working to undo permissive abortion laws, we must follow the path of science, compassion and human rights, and protect unborn children.

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