BELFAST, August 16, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Northern Ireland’s leading pro-life group Precious Life has called for a public inquiry and police investigation into the exorbitant number of abortions performed in the region allegedly to “save the mother’s life.”

Recently released data in Northern Ireland show that there were more abortions sanctioned as a procedure to save a mother’s life in the past two years, than in England and Wales combined over a 40 year period.

Official government figures released at the request of Lord David Alton, a former Labour and Liberal Democrat Party MP and now member of the House of Lords, revealed that of the over 6 million abortions committed in England and Wales since 1967, only 143 were performed on the grounds of “saving the life of the mother.”

However, according to figures from the Northern Ireland Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS), there was an average of 79 abortions per year over a 5 year period allegedly performed to “save the life of the mother.”

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Abortion is normally illegal in Northern Ireland under the Offences Against The Person Act of 1861 and Criminal Justice Act of 1945.

Director of the Precious Life, Bernadette Smyth said, “Questions needs to be answered as to how there can be more abortions ‘to save a mother’s life’ performed in Northern Ireland in only two years, than in England and Wales over a 40 year period.”

“We have been challenging the DHSSPS since they first released abortion figures in 2005,” added Smyth. “To date we have not received a satisfactory answer to why abortions are being performed in Northern Ireland.”

Jim Allister, leader of the Traditional Unionist Voice political party, is pressing the Health Minister to ensure the law against abortion in Northern Ireland is being complied with and demanding proper recording and collating of the reasons for abortions.

Smyth concluded: “In Northern Ireland it is a very serious offence to intentionally cause the death of an unborn child. In fact there are no circumstances in which abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother. There is clear distinction between abortion—the intentional killing of an unborn child—and genuine life-saving medical treatment, which may cause the unintentional death of the unborn child.”