06 December 2013
A call for clarity, not a change in the law on abortion
The Department of Justice has announced a consultation with a view to changing the law on abortion, inevitably leading to more terminations. Last year there were over 190,000 abortions in England and Wales – one baby is aborted for every four children born (1). This was not the intention when the 1967 Abortion Act was passed and we must not make the same mistake here in Northern Ireland.
Peter Lynas, national director of Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland, said: "We need a joined up approach from the Executive, not more confusion caused by the Departments of Health and Justice pursuing separate approaches to abortion. The Evangelical Alliance seeks more clarity under the current law rather than new legislation which will inevitably result in more abortions in Northern Ireland.
"This year the UK Parliament held an inquiry into abortion on the grounds of disability. It recommended that Parliament review the question of allowing abortion on the grounds of disability at all (2). Today the 1967 Act would probably not be passed because of its blatant discrimination against disabled people. The inquiry also found there was no consensus around which abnormalities would warrant termination.
"The Inquiry also recommended that perinatal hospice care be offered to all parents when they find out their child has a fetal disability. This is a much more positive approach to dealing with life-limited babies and should be considered here instead of changing the law to allow more abortions."
The Evangelical Alliance commends the current law in Northern Ireland as an excellent example of the difficult and delicate balance which must be struck between protecting the life of the mother and her unborn child. This law underpins the important values of life, family and community. This, together with Northern Ireland’s excellent record of maternal health, should be celebrated.
(1) Department of Health Abortion Statistics England and Wales, July 2013
(2) Page 5 of the Parliamentary Inquiry into abortion on the grounds of disability www.abortionanddisability.org
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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.