You may have noticed from our social media that some of our team (myself, Danielle and Dawn) were over in Washington DC recently and you may be wondering how and why did we end up there?

How it all began

About 6 years ago, a number of us from different Christian charities in Northern Ireland were growing increasingly frustrated and grieved about the debate around abortion. 

Talking publicly (and privately) about abortion has always been difficult. And it should be, because we’re talking about the limits of personal freedom and bodily autonomy, the value we place on a developing baby, the proper constraints of medicine and human rights law. 


Increasingly, we witnessed an already sensitive issue being exploited and exploded by a polarising culture war. There were too few spaces for listening together or exploring common ground. The whole debate was framed as a zero sum game; women lose when unborn children’s rights are protected and unborn children lose when women’s rights are protected. Essentially, the public were being told to pick their woman-team or baby-team and fight the other side. Meanwhile women and unborn children were the primary casualties in this culture war – surely there has to be a better way?

"There were too few spaces for listening together or exploring common ground."

Both lives do matter

So, together we started a new conversation. What if both lives matter? What if this was our starting point, our end goal and our guiding principle along the way?

Could this change how we approached politics and policy, healthcare and human rights, systemic issues like poverty and domestic violence? Could this create new common ground? Could this both/​and” approach be more biblical?

Unfortunately, since the Both Lives Matter campaign was launched, the law has changed dramatically in Northern Ireland. Almost every legal protection has been removed from the unborn child, meanwhile no safeguards or statutory supports have been introduced to protect or help vulnerable women. However, throughout this time, we developed strong relationships with others who cared and advocated for both, across Ireland, the UK and with some friends in America.

And so, fast forward to a few weeks ago when we found ourselves in Washington DC, thanks to a generous invitation to be part of a gathering of churches and ministries ahead of the annual March for Life. We met and mixed with leaders from a wide range of denominations, racial backgrounds and political outlooks, all united in engaging the church to care better for both women and unborn children in pregnancy crisis. It was a powerful and impactful exchange.

Both Lives Matter

Three quick takeaways:

  • We were humbled — Let’s be honest, there are stereotypes which portray evangelicals who are pro-life (or as we prefer, pro-both) as angry, confrontational, anti-women and lacking compassion. I’m not saying that there are never instances like these, or that evangelicals have always got things right in this area, but often these stereotypes are used deliberately by abortion activists and some factions of the media to muddy the waters. Our experience was the complete opposite. We met so many warm, gracious and humble people who genuinely cared and advocated for both women and their unborn children.
  • We were encouraged – We all experienced encouragement, but Dawn especially, who has been in this space for many years now. It is difficult and sensitive work, emotionally heavy, ethically contested and deeply controversial. It was so heartening to be around so many people who have given their lives to pursue justice for both women and their unborn children and are flourishing. We heard stories which moved us to tears and stories which gave us new hope.
  • We were inspired — The long term, strategic and collective approach taken by some of our new friends was so exciting. We met volunteers who run pregnancy crisis centres, church leaders, lawyers, students, researchers, doctors and campaigners. We met people working to change the system, addressing housing needs, reducing poverty and domestic violence, encouraging fostering and adoption. Having all of these people in one room at the same time gave an amazing breadth and depth to the conversation and the emerging vision.
  • We had a lot of fun – Ok, I said three, but as well as working hard we squeezed in a lot of fun too! We got to visit the Museum of the Bible, go on a tour of Capitol Hill, make new friends and of course eat too much food!

We have exciting plans for the year ahead so watch this space and get in touch if you would like to find out more or further support the work and vision of Both Lives Matter.