PR: Westminster's Women and Equalities Committee Report in conflict with vast majority of submissions from NI
Today (25 Apr), Westminster's Women and Equalities Committee published their report into abortion law in Northern Ireland. Precious Life, Northern Ireland's leading pro-life group, were heavily involved in the inquiry yet were completely ignored in the report along with virtually every other pro-life submission put forward.
Bernadette Smyth, Director of Precious Life, blasted the report, "This extreme, biased pro-abortion report has shamefully disregarded the vast majority of the submissions from people and organisations in Northern Ireland that stated they do not wish to see a change in our pro-life laws. A huge effort, facilitated largely by Precious Life, included submissions from medical professionals, legal practitioners, major organisations based in Northern Ireland and women and families who have faced difficult and crisis pregnancies. Yet, this compelling body of evidence and lived experience was completely ignored in the report's hugely biased and agenda-driven findings.
Further, the report also failed to recognise unborn children - the direct victims of abortion - and their 'inherent right to life' as enshrined in international human rights law including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. There is no human right to abortion while every person, born and unborn, should be safeguarded in law, policy and practice."
Bernadette Smyth continued, "Abortion is a devolved issue in NI and not for any other government - including Westminster - to intervene to change our life-saving laws. Westminster should respect devolution and our democratic process. There is absolutely no mention of the countless submissions made by Precious Life and the personal testimonies of women who have been supported through the work of Precious Life and Stanton Healthcare Belfast. This is unacceptable and incredibly insensitive considering the time and effort put in to these submissions."
Bernadette Smyth concluded, "In 2015, it was revealed that over 99% of the responses to the then Justice Minister David Ford MLA’s consultation opposed any change to our pro-life laws. Furthermore, in 2016, Precious Life presented an overwhelming 300,000 petitions at Stormont Parliament Buildings. These served as powerful reminders that the citizens of NI want unborn babies and their mothers protected from the barbarity of abortion. They want our culture of life in NI to continue to be an example to the rest of the world that every life matters."