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28 February 2013

Press release

Prevention of private abortions welcomed

The Evangelical Alliance in Northern Ireland welcomes moves by the Justice Committee to prevent private providers, such a Marie Stopes, carrying out abortions in Northern Ireland. The law in Northern Ireland permits abortions in very limited circumstances and these are already provided by the NHS. The legal system here has long sought to respect the right of the mother and the unborn child. The very low number of abortions here is a credit, rather than a cause for concern.

Peter Lynas, NI director of Evangelical Alliance commented,

"The Justice Committee is clearly concerned about a potential legal loophole in relation to abortion. They are pushing for an amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill to ensure that only the NHS provides abortions under the defence set out in the 1967 Act. This would not change the service offered to women in Northern Ireland, simply restrict the provision to one regulated body – the NHS."

"The Department for Health in Stormont has also promised to publish draft advice on abortion for the NHS in Northern Ireland next week. The Department has previously said it would only issue guidance that was compatible with the law. EANI hopes that continues to be the case and that the guidelines make clear that those offering advice, should not also be offering terminations."

"Crisis pregnancy counselling is hugely underfunded. We need to deal with the root causes of this issue – relationship breakdown, vulnerable young people, underage sex etc, rather than a private firm performing abortions, which are not the answer."

"Evangelical Alliance wants to see a significant reduction in the number of unwanted pregnancies. We also want to see an increase in the availability and uptake in free and balanced counselling that complies with the law. We are concerned with the wellbeing of both the mother and the unborn child. There are alternatives to abortion that ensure the welfare of both."

Media Enquiries

Peter Lynas, Director of Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland

David Smyth, public policy officer, Northern Ireland

Notes to Editors

The Evangelical Alliance
We are the largest and oldest body representing the UK’s two million evangelical Christians. For more than 165 years, we have been bringing Christians together and helping them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society. We’re here to connect people for a shared mission, whether it’s celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government for a better society. From Skye to Southampton, from Coleraine to Cardiff, we work across 79 denominations, 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of individual members. And we're not just uniting Christians within the UK – we are a founding member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a global network of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. For more information, go to www.eauk.org.