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Northern Ireland bishops float ‘compromise’ allowing abortion, pro-life group objects

The Society of Unborn Children says the bishops have abandoned the position of robust opposition to the new abortion regime they expressed in December last year.
Fri Apr 3, 2020 - 9:14 pm EST
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NORTHERN IRELAND, April 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A U.K. pro-life group, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), has called on the Catholic bishops of Northern Ireland not to back an unethical compromise that makes the Church complicit in a radical abortion regime.

New abortion legislation came into force in Northern Ireland on March 31, after it was passed last year by politicians in Westminster, England, when Northern Ireland’s local government collapsed.

On the same day the Catholic bishops of Northern Ireland issued a statement, which SPUC says abandoned the position of robust opposition to the new abortion regime they expressed in December last year.

The bishops’ new statement says:

The Regulations themselves can be debated by the Assembly and insofar as they exceed the strict requirements of the 2019 Act, new Regulations can be enacted by the Assembly.  We intend to make these points in writing to our MLAs in the coming days and encourage others to do likewise.

The British government’s new abortion regime in Northern Ireland includes:

  • Abortion on demand for babies up to 12 weeks and up to 24 weeks on unspecified “health” grounds, such as claims about the mother’s “financial, relationship or housing issues which impact on the continuance of the pregnancy.”
  • Abortion up to and during birth on grounds of disability. In Britain, this has led to the abortion of nine out of 10 babies with Down syndrome and abortions for conditions like cleft lip and clubfoot.
  • No limit for self-induced abortions. A woman who kills her child while giving birth will not commit a criminal offense. And doctors who selectively kill a disabled twin or triplet just before or during delivery will not be prosecuted.
  • Schools will become conduits for the abortion industry, directing even underage girls for abortions without the knowledge of their parents. This will facilitate the exploitation of girls and help to cover up cases of child sex abuse.

Liam Gibson, SPUC’s Northern Ireland political officer, said:

The response of the Northern Ireland Catholic Bishops to this development has come as a great disappointment for many in the pro-life movement and especially the members of the health service who are required to facilitate the provision of abortion in this new regime. Only last December they expressed their unequivocal opposition to the forthcoming abortion legislation[.]

“So in December,” Gibson continued “they said the Act must be opposed, but now the bishops are calling for the amendment of the regulations ‘insofar as they exceed the strict requirements of the 2019 Act.’”

As a matter of urgency, the bishops need to reaffirm their commitment to defend all unborn children without exception. Anything less than the repeal of the abortion provisions in the 2019 Act will abandon the youngest, weakest and most vulnerable children to the abortion industry.

The bishops warn politicians that they must ‘not meekly acquiesce’ to the regulations. Sadly, it will seem to many that this is exactly what they themselves have done in failing to maintain the position they took just three months ago.

John Smeaton, SPUC chief executive, added:

By encouraging the British Government, UK parliamentarians and Northern Ireland Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) to back regulations which permit abortion for various reasons, the Northern Ireland bishops will involve the church in an unethical compromise which would make them complicit in the radical abortion regime authorised by the Act. There is a crucial moral difference between, on the one hand, limiting, in an ethical way, the harm of pro-abortion legislation, and, on the other hand, advising legislators on how to go about legalising abortion in certain circumstances.


  abortion, catholic, northern ireland, society for the protection of unborn children spuc

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