Parents of ten children speak out against abortion on the basis of cleft lip and palate

Northern Ireland couple Liam and Alicea Brennan, from Rasharkin Co. Antrim, are parents to ten children. The pro-life cause is particularly close to their hearts, and they have been stalwarts in the movement since the formation of Precious Life in 1997. Dad Liam was born with a cleft lip and palate, a condition which permits abortion up to birth throughout the UK and now prospectively in Northern Ireland as well following the legalisation of a permissive abortion law. Shockingly, abortion in Britain for cleft lip and palate has trebled over the last number of years and is becoming increasingly more socially and culturally acceptable. This is a condition which causes a small or wide gap in the roof of the mouth, upper lip or both. It can be easily reversed with minor surgery.

The Brennan family are now speaking out against radical changes to our law which have paved the way for legal abortion right through to birth for a range of reasons, including for cleft palate. The fact that a baby can be aborted for having this minor and treatable condition has hit close to home for the Brennan family. They say they are deeply saddened, shocked and horrified that the proposed abortion framework, forced on Northern Ireland by Westminster, will allow preborn babies with the condition to be aborted right up and including the moment of birth, robbing so many of the gift of life.

Liam was fortunate to be born into a family who fully embraced life and would never have doubted his potential and value. His parents, Pat and Rita, would never have considered an abortion. It is also significant that prenatal screenings of such conditions wouldn’t have existed 50 years ago. The devastating reality is that these screenings, meant to help us better understand complex medical conditions and find ways to improve the outlook for patients, are now being used to eradicate people who don't meet a certain standard in the eyes of today's increasingly throw-away society.

In fact, in 2020, screenings for conditions including cleft lip and palate have become so common that parents think it is acceptable to kill their child if they aren’t planned and “perfect.” It should never be socially acceptable or portrayed as morally right to kill anyone, especially your own child.

An abortion doesn’t just kill one person. It kills off all their future descendants. If Liam's life hadn't been protected and he was instead killed before birth in an abortion – these ten other unique human beings, some of which now have families of their own, would have never existed. As we often hear, life offers no guarantees - but abortion offers no chances.

Furthermore, Liam's father Pat was born prematurely at just 7 months. He weighed only 2.5 lbs and he had to be wrapped in cotton wool to keep his tiny body warm. Pat was fed using a syringe when he was first born because he was so small. Rita and Pat had 7 children together, one of them being Liam.

All these babies, these people - this family - wouldn't have been alive today if either Pat or Liam had been killed before birth because they had a disability or were born prematurely. There is never a justifiable reason to kill an innocent and defenceless baby. Every life has value and every person deserves their chance at life. We never know the positive effect one life will have on the world. 

We thank Liam, Alicea, Pat, Rita and all the Brennan family for all their tireless work for the pro-life movement and for sharing their powerful, pro-life story. Every person, born and preborn, deserves their right to life regardless of their size or any disability. Precious Life will continue to work to make abortion not only illegal but unthinkable in Northern Ireland.         

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