Thursday October 21, 2010

Pro-Abort Org Inciting Physicians to Commit Criminal Acts in N. Ireland: Pro-life Advocates

By Hilary White

NEWCASTLE, N. Ireland, October 21, 2010 ( – One of Europe’s busiest abortion agencies, the Family Planning Association (FPA), sponsored a conference in Newcastle, Northern Ireland, earlier this month, that the pro-life campaign group Precious Life said was “absolutely outrageous” and illegal because it incited physicians to commit criminal acts. In Northern Ireland abortion remains a criminal act, except in cases where there is an immediate threat to the life of the mother.

The conference called for the abolition of Ireland’s legal protections for unborn children. Calling the law in Northern Ireland “restrictive,” Dr. Audrey Simpson from the FPA told media, “It’s time for change.”

But according to Precious Life Director Bernadette Smyth, “What the organizers and speakers at this conference are doing is incitement, encouraging health professionals here to commit the crimes of illegal abortion and child destruction.”

Smyth decried the “audacity” of the FPA “to organize an abortion conference in a country where abortion is illegal.”

“The vast majority of people here are opposed to abortion and are offended and outraged that this conference is taking place,” she said. “Unionists and nationalists alike, it’s the one thing that unites both communities.”

Smyth’s assertion is backed up by numerous polls that show little support among the public of Northern Ireland for a change in the abortion law. Assembly members from all parties have repeatedly passed motions maintaining their opposition to any change in the law.

Precious Life held a protest outside the hotel where the conference took place.

A police spokesman told the Belfast Telegraph that they are responding to a formal complaint and said that if criminal offences are identified police will take “appropriate action.”

The province of Northern Ireland, although under the rule of Britain’s Parliament, is one of the rare holdouts in Europe, along with the Republic of Ireland, Malta and Poland, against total legalization of abortion.

The Chairman of the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Health Committee Jim Wells (DUP) said he suspected that the organizers of the conference “were using it as a vehicle to bring abortion on demand into Northern Ireland.”

The Catholic Bishops of Ireland released a statement to the media saying, “We appeal to all those who cherish the inherent dignity of human life in all its stages to join us in expressing opposition to this event.”

The bishops called on the government to “express their opposition” and to “promote and defend a legislative environment which respects the inherent dignity of life in all it stages.”

Attempts continue to be made to push legalized abortion into Northern Ireland both by independent abortionist organizations like the FPA, and by abortion activists within Parliament and government departments. In recent years, advocates for the unborn in the Assembly as well as among the public have joined forces to stop repeated attempts to bring abortion in through the ‘back door’ of medical guidelines that, they warned, would have made the law moot.

This summer, the Department of Health withdrew guidelines that had been rejected by the courts as being in opposition to Northern Ireland law. The department announced it would hold a “public consultation” on abortion.

Liam Gibson of SPUC North Ireland said his organization would be “working closely with pro-life members of the Northern Ireland Assembly and its health committee … to ensure that the department’s consultation does not result in the rights of women, unborn children or the medical profession being undermined.”

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