More heel dragging over Fatal Foetal Abnormality


Last night was almost 10 months after the Minster of Justice announced he would seek to introduce legislation to allow abortions in the case of Fatal Foetal Abnormality. This also came after some 18 months of careful examination of health and justice officials including a public consultation.

However, despite all this oversight an review the DUP proposed that the Health Minister set up another working group to look into this matter. This could take at least six months to report back, enough time for this issue not to be considered before the Assembly elections this May.

This is unacceptable and the 59 votes against making the change now from mainly Unionist* and SLDP* MLAs continue to fail to help the women in our part of the UK. They will for the next sixth months of longer still face the tough decisions about what to do if they are diagnosed with a Fatal Foetal Abnormality.

They will have to decide what they will do in isolation as health care professionals are not allowed to give them any advice. They will have to decide if they go somewhere over the Irish Sea where they possibly know nobody else to access services that are seen a medical procedure across Great Britain, to avoid all the trauma, illness, physical and emotional toil that carrying to term impart.

Our MLAs refused last night to take the tough decisions, so that the tough decisions that some of our women have to take remain tougher than elsewhere. They were not being asked to deny another life from existing, the clue is in the first word of extention that was being asked for.

These abnormalities are not ones that can be carried through into adulthood, or even much of childhood. They either don’t survive outside the womb or for a very short period. A short period during which there may be attachment before that is ripped apart.

The emotional and physical well being of our women was not a consideration of the delay of another 6 months by our elected representatives yesterday. The fact that we are almost 50 years behind the rest of the UK in not allowing our women to abort if there is a FFA means that 6 months is not just six months too much it is the 98th six month that is too much.

* Unionists in favour were Mike Nesbitt, Andy Allen and Michael McGimpsey UUP, Basil McCrea NI21 and John McAllister Ind.

** Claire Hanna of the SDLP Abstained by voting in both lobbies.


First Minister plays gay and abortion cards in flag dispute


Earlier this evening the First Minister issued a statement, though it appears it has been issued as the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party or unionism and not as a leader of all in Northern Ireland.

It appears to be largely an attack condemning those that wish to see a return to direct rule as a way to protect Northern Irish sovereignty. However, what is telling is the language that the first minister uses to try to prevent people from seeking that road.

One thing he says is:

“This is the Direct Rule that left unionism powerless and put Sinn Fein in the driving seat with a Dublin government fighting the nationalist case while the British government remained neutral.”

Of course this cannot be him speaking as First Minister in an office he shares with a Sinn Féin deputy First Minister. A position that has been decided upon democratically by the people of the Northern Ireland to enable Sinn Féin to take on a power sharing role with the DUP. It does seem a rather strange argument to put, especially as under devolution the Westminster government also remains neutral on issues that are devolved, including what position each council takes on when to fly the Union Flag (which is devolved below Stormont level).

But more telling is in the last paragraph, the crescendo to end his appeal:

“Let them explain to the people the benefit of Water Charging and higher Regional Rates which would automatically follow Direct Rule.  And are they content to have Westminster impose same sex marriages and abortion on demand on our community?  Such folly.  Have they so quickly forgotten the decisions of direct rule in the past?

So, not only is the First Minister wanting to maintain all services without taking a cut or looking at alternative revenue streams, such as the water rates in the rest of the UK, he is also playing two big cards. Remember his playing to a crowd here, he is talking to people who have already threatened elected representatives and spokespeople. So he stirs those people up further by saying that direct rule will lead to abortion and equal marriage.

There are already accusations that Peter Robinson was trying to make political gain out of this flag decision in a bid to win back the Westminster seat of Belfast East. He is now trying to make further political gain in unrelated areas without due care to the repercussions

It is not quite as direct an incitement to homophobic attacks as his wife made, but in light of the people he is trying to address in this issue he has placed another fear into the arena. Somethings which have no direct correlation to the flags protest women’s right to choose and LGBT rights are now what the First Minister has thrown into this debate debacle.

He is trying to fight fire with lighter fluid, this is the not the act of a leader.

Opinion: Catholic Church opposition to abortion congress



Primate of All Ireland His Eminence Sean, Cardinal Brady


Health professions from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have been attending a conference at the Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle to discuss abortion and clinical practice. This is a major breakthrough step in my opinion as currently nowhere in Ireland is abortion freely available and it is only used in extreme conditions to protect the life of the mother.

Of course the fact that abortion is not available in Ireland hasn’t and doesn’t stop Irish women from aborting their babies. They get on a ferry or plane and head to Scotland, Wales or England. Whatever the opinions of the objectors, the pro-life campaigners and the churches here it is a fact of life. Indeed 1,200 Northern Irish women, all UK citizens, spend £1m in 2009 going to England to have a termination.

The Catholic Bishops headed by the Cardinal have issued a statement saying they ‘deplore and oppose’ the two-day conference.

“The dignity of the human person is absolute and inviolable. We call on public representatives to express their opposition to this conference and to promote and defend a legislative environment which respects the inherent dignity of life in all its stages.

“A conference which promotes themes such as Manual Vacuum Aspiration and Issues in Late Abortion is an affront to the dignity of the human person.

“It is gravely immoral. Respect should be shown in all circumstances for the life and well-being of both the mother and the unborn child.”

I ask what about the dignity and well-being of the women and teenage girls who are going across the water to get what they want, even though it is not available here? There may be complications both physically and emotionally that our health care providers here need to deal with both before and after the procedure.

The conference covers not only the procedures that are used as mentioned by the Bishops above, but also the support and counselling provision required those who find themselves with an unwanted pregnancy. These are vital services that need to be addressed even if the actual provision of a termination is still outlawed across the island. The act of aborting the foetus is not the only health issue that health care professionals may have to deal with. There are possible emotional scars afterwards or there may be gynecological issues that arise. We need to fully equip our health care professionals to deal with these eventualities or else our women will have to seek that assistance across the water as well, once more away from the people they love.

My personal stance is a pro-life pro-choicer. If I was ever asked for advise I would try to counsel any friend/s to try their best to go with the pregnancy to term. There are alternatives, even if they don’t feel able to cope with raising the little one themselves. However, I know that choice isn’t easy for everyone therefore I accept the right of the parents to choose what is best for them including the option to abort.

Opinion: Catholic Church opposition to abortion congress



His Eminence Seán, Cardinal Brady, Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All-Ireland, Cardinal-Priest of Santi Quirico e Giulitta


The conference being held at the Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle, County Down on the subject of Abortion hosted by the so-called Family Planning Association has been rightly condemned by the hierarchy of the Church in Ireland.

Abortion what is it?

Abortion (from the Latin word aboriri, “to perish”) may be briefly defined as “the loss of a fetal life.

In it the fetus dies while yet within the generative organs of the mother, or it is ejected or extracted from them before it is viable; that is, before it is sufficiently developed to continue its life by itself.

Catholic Encyclopedia

What did the bishops say?

We deplore and oppose the conference to be held this evening and tomorrow in the Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle entitled the ‘First All-Ireland Conference on Abortion and Clinical Practice’.

This conference is clearly designed to undermine the rights and welfare of children in the womb and the consistently pro-life position of the majority of people on this island. It is an attempt to normalise what is unacceptable. 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.

Every human life is worthy of protection from the moment of conception to natural death. The dignity of the human person is absolute and inviolable. We call on public representatives to express their opposition to this conference and to promote and defend a legislative environment which respects the inherent dignity of life in all it stages.

A conference which promotes themes such as ‘manual vacuum aspiration’ and ‘issues in late abortion’ is an affront to the dignity of the human person. It is gravely immoral. Respect should be shown in all circumstances for the life and well being of both the mother and the unborn child.

One of the objectives of the conference is to learn about how clinicians can be trained to provide abortion services. This raises questions about how the statutory authorities should respond to such an event in a jurisdiction where abortion is illegal in most circumstances.

No one should be forced to act against their conscience on a moral issue as fundamental as the right to life of the unborn. Employers and others must therefore uphold the right of every person to have their moral conscience and deeply held religious beliefs respected.

We call on Catholics and other Christians to renew their efforts to build a culture of life and to pray in particular for a renewed appreciation of the preciousness and inherent dignity of the life of the child in the womb.

What do I say?

The State condemns murder: yet that is just what abortion is – the murder of the innocents. In Ireland, both in Northern Ireland and in the Irish Free State Éire abortion is illegal. This position has been confirmed by the Northern Ireland Assembly and Dáil Éireann and the so-called family planning association should take note. Those who seem to want to force the provision of state-sponsored murder should think about what they are proposing.

Since 1967 there have been 6.7 million abortions. That is many more than the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust. Yet this is allowed by our country. If we had not killed these babies, we would have many more people in the country, and one would hope that there would not be quite as much of a crisis in the pensions as there would be more people paying in to support our pensioners.

Prayer to End Abortion

Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life,
And for the lives of all my brothers and sisters.
I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion,
Yet I rejoice that you have conquered death
by the Resurrection of Your Son.
I am ready to do my part in ending abortion.
Today I commit myself
Never to be silent,
Never to be passive,
Never to be forgetful of the unborn.
I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement,
And never to stop defending life
Until all my brothers and sisters are protected,
And our nation once again becomes
A nation with liberty and justice
Not just for some, but for all,
Through Christ our Lord. Amen!