Press release: Only 8 abortions in NI in 2018/19, numbers set to skyrocket if Cons Govt chooses to introduce extreme abortion framework on March 31 2020

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Only 8 abortions in NI in 2018/19, numbers set to skyrocket if Cons Govt chooses to introduce extreme abortion framework on March 31 2020

Figures released today by the Northern Ireland Department of Health show that there were eight abortions in Health and Social Care Trust hospitals in Northern Ireland from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019, four less than in 2017/18.

This could be the last year that so few abortions take place in Northern Ireland. Although some women do travel to England and Wales for abortions from Northern Ireland when these abortions are taken into account, the abortion rate among Northern Ireland residents is far below that of England and Wales, and one of the lowest in the world.

This is reflected in a robust statistical analysis, verified by the Advertising Standards Authority, which shows 100,000 people in Northern Ireland are alive today because Northern Ireland did not accept the same abortion law that was introduced throughout the rest of the United Kingdom in 1967. 

The current Conservative Government are legally required, by the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019, to introduce a limited abortion framework in the province.

The Government has launched a consultation on a proposed abortion framework for Northern Ireland which goes far beyond what the Government is required to do by the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019. 

The proposed framework drops many of the current legal safeguards provided by the Abortion Act in England and Wales. The proposals open up abortion provision to any healthcare professional, which could include pharmacists, nurses, midwives, healthcare assistants, art therapists and dieticians. It also drops the requirement that two doctors sign off on an abortion.

The proposal includes virtually no legal limit on the locations on where abortions can take place, potentially allowing for the home use of both abortion pills along with abortion provision in pharmacies, GPs surgeries, school nurse clinics, mobile abortion clinics and ‘telemed’ abortions.

In practice, abortion on demand would be available to either 22 or 24 weeks under mental health grounds. Abortion without certification would be available to either 12 or 14 weeks. This would allow sex-selective abortions to be available on-demand through this period with no specific provision banning sex-selective abortion through 22/24 weeks. 

The proposal would also see abortion for disabilities, including cleft lip, club foot and Down’s syndrome introduced to Northern Ireland, and possibly available right through to birth.

In England and Wales – where abortion is available up until birth if a baby has a disability – people with disabilities are unjustly and disproportionately targeted by abortion legislation.

The latest available figures show that 90% of children diagnosed with Down’s syndrome before birth are aborted in England and Wales.

Northern Ireland has a very different approach. Disability-selective abortion for Down’s syndrome is not permitted and there is a culture of welcoming and supporting people with this disability rather than screening them out.

This is reflected directly in the latest figures (2016) from the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, which show that while there were 52 children born with Down’s syndrome, in the same year, only 1 child from Northern Ireland with Down’s syndrome was aborted in England and Wales.

This very large discriminatory change was highlighted in a speech by disabled peer Lord Shinkwin in the House of Lords when he was speaking against the proposed changes.

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK Catherine Robinson said:

“Sadly, this could be the last year that so few abortions take place in Northern Ireland. Although some women do travel to England and Wales for abortions from Northern Ireland, when these are taken into account, the abortion rate among Northern Ireland residents is far below that of England and Wales, and one of the lowest in the world.

This is reflected in a robust statistical analysis, verified by the Advertising Standards Authority which shows 100,000 people in Northern Ireland are alive today because Northern Ireland did not accept the same abortion law that was introduced into Britain in 1967. 

Now that the Northern Ireland Assembly has been restored, it is vital that devolution is respected and the decision around this important issue are made by the elected representatives of the Northern Irish people.

The Government is required by Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019 to introduce a limited abortion framework to Northern Ireland on March 31st. For the Conservative Government to go beyond what is strictly necessary to comply with the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Act 2019, after it has repeatedly stated that it wishes to respect the devolution settlement and the people of Northern Ireland, is unacceptable and unnecessary. 

This proposed abortion framework is a blatant attempt by the Government to further undermine the will of the people of Northern Ireland. It adds insult to injury after Westminster voted to impose new abortion laws on Northern Ireland and will likely lead to an even larger increase in the number of lives lost to abortion.”

ENDS

  • For additional quotes and media interviews contact 07907 272151 or email press@righttolife.org.uk 
  • For further information on Right To Life UK visit www.righttolife.org.uk
  • A full account of where the proposed Conservative Government framework goes far beyond what is strictly necessary to comply with the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Act 2019 is available here.
  • The full consultation document is available here.
  • The full report on the 100,000 lives figure quoted above is available here: https://bothlivesmatter.org/statistics   
  • Polling from ComRes shows that 66% of women and 70% of 18-34-year-olds in Northern Ireland rejected abortion law being imposed on Northern Ireland from Westminster. The strongest support among age groups surveyed came from 18-34-year-olds, with 70% agreeing that they did not want abortion law imposed on Northern Ireland.

Press release – RCOG president proposes ‘Facetime abortions’ for teenage girls to pass unborn babies alone at home or school

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RCOG president proposes ‘Facetime abortions’ for teenage girls to pass unborn babies alone at home or school

The President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), Lesley Regan, has called for the Government to roll out ‘Facetime abortions’ across the United Kingdom.

Under the current law, two doctors sign off on a termination and then the first abortion pill is taken in an abortion clinic or hospital with medical supervision.

In the RCOG’s Better for Women report, to be released on Monday 2 December, they have proposed that an abortion consultation happens without a face-to-face appointment, instead happening either over the phone or Facetime/Skype. The abortion pills (mifepristone and misoprostol) would then be picked up from a pharmacy.

Both abortion pills would be taken by the women or teenage girl alone without the direct support of medical staff. Although campaigners are calling for the pills to be taken at home, once the drugs are taken from a pharmacy, there would nothing to stop misoprostol being taken at other locations such as schools, colleges etc, possibly under coercion from third-parties. It is not clear how the NHS or independent clinics could ensure the pills are taken by women or teenage girls at home.

The supply of abortion pills would also be much more difficult to control given they could be taken from a pharmacy, making it difficult to ensure that the women or teenage girl who has been prescribed the pill is the person who is actually the person taking the pill. This would make it easier for third parties to obtain abortion pills to slip them into a woman’s food without her knowledge.

Lesley Regan was previously heavily criticised for saying that she wanted to see getting an abortion as easy as getting ‘your bunions sorted’.

The psychological risks associated with medical abortions out of a clinical environment can be severe, partly because women usually see the fetus, which they then have to flush away themselves. It is not hidden from them in the way a surgical abortion keeps the fetus from the view of the woman. Moreover, the reminder of the abortion is always in the home, not in an anonymous clinic that can be left behind.

The RCOG decision to call for extreme changes to abortion provision was made by only 33 members of the RCOG Council and their full membership was not consulted. Following the decision, there was a revolt among the RCOG membership and 650 doctors wrote an open letter to Lesley Regan objecting to the change in position without any consultation with their 6,000 membership. 

If the proposed changes went ahead, the UK’s two largest abortion providers would likely make far higher margins on each abortion they perform as they would no longer be required to provide a face to face appointment with a health professional and have two doctors certify an abortion.

Spokesperson for Right to Life UK Catherine Robinson said:

“Facetime abortions would leave teenage girls or other vulnerable women to take abortion pills and pass their unborn child alone at home, school or other locations without the direct support of medical staff and possibly under coercion from third-parties.

Self-referral, self-administration and less medical involvement in abortions is not an improvement in health services for women. The absence of medical supervision for taking powerful drugs, often with great distress, is not an improvement in medical care. 

This is another attempt to trivialise the ending of a life, rush women and teenage girls through the abortion process, providing less medical supervision and support for women. 205,295 babies in the womb were aborted in the England & Wales in 2018. This does not appear to be enough for the abortion lobby and head of the RCOG, Lesley Regan, who has said she wants to see abortion as easy as getting ‘your bunions sorted’. Instead, they are lobbying for these changes which would mean less medical supervision, less time for women and teenage girls to explore options other than abortion and could see our already very high abortion rate increase even further.

“Contrary to the recommended changes seeking to rush women through the abortion process, a ComRes poll found that 79% of the general public in the UK are in favour of introducing consideration periods to ensure that a woman considering an abortion has enough time to consider all of the options available to her.

“The RCOG should address the reasons women seek out abortion services in such high numbers in this country, often because of; vulnerability, isolation, lack of financial or emotional support, or pressure from a partner. Simply rushing women through the abortion process does nothing to address the problems these women already face and would only later compound these issues if coupled with post-abortion regret. 

The only people who would benefit from this change are UK’s two big abortion providers. They would be able to make far higher margins on each abortion because they would no longer be required to provide a face to face appointment with a health professional and two doctors certifying an abortion.

This is a reckless approach to healthcare. Women’s safety and mental or physical health should never be potentially compromised for the sake of expediency or convenience.” 

BACKGROUND NOTES

Press release – UK’s largest abortion provider asking MP candidates to pledge to introduce abortion up to birth

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

UK’s largest abortion provider asking MP candidates to pledge to introduce abortion up to birth

25 November 2019 – The UK’s largest abortion provider has launched a campaign to get MP candidates to pledge to introduce abortion on demand, for any reason, up to birth.

The ‘my pledge, my choice’ campaign was launched by abortion provider the British Pregnancy Advisory Service over the weekend. The campaign is asking constituents to ask prospective candidates to sign a ‘pro-choice’ pledge.

The pledge includes a commitment to, “Support further moves to decriminalise abortion in England and Wales in line with previous cross-party parliamentary bills and amendments, including the Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill 2017.”

The Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill 2017 was a ten-minute rule bill brought forward by Diana Johnson MP which sought to fully ‘decriminalise’ abortion by repealing ‘certain criminal offences relating to such terminations’. The radical abortion bill failed to pass at second reading.

The term ‘decriminalise’ is a misnomer used by abortion campaigners to describe the removal of almost all current safeguards around abortion.

Full decriminalisation of abortion involves repealing sections 58 and 59 Offences Against the Person Act along with the Infant Life Preservation Act. The Abortion Act 1967, sets out exceptions to this underlying legislation which last year allowed for over 200,000 abortions to take place in England and Wales. Without this underlying legislation, the Abortion Act would become redundant.

This change in law would scrap the current 24-week time legal limit for abortion – and abortion would be available on-demand, for any reason, up to birth. The current legal upper time limit would be completely abolished.

This would be the most extreme abortion law in the world. The change would position England and Wales drastically away from the European Union, where the most common abortion time limit among EU countries is 12 weeks

BPAS has not been shy about their intention to see abortion available on-demand, for any reason, up to birth. 

At the launch of the We Trust Women campaign to ‘decriminalise’ abortion the organisation’s CEO Ann Furedi made the position of the campaign very clear saying: “I want to be very, very clear and blunt… there should be no legal upper limit.”

In an interview on ITV’s Loose Women Anne Furedi reaffirmed the position that abortion should be available up-to-birth along with stating her support for allowing sex-selective abortions to take place in the UK. 

The proposed change in law is completely out of line with where women stand on the issue. Polling from Savanta ComRes on whether time limits for abortion should be increased showed that only 1% of women wanted the time limit to be extended to more than 24 weeks and 1% wanted it to be increased right through to birth, in contrast to 70% of women who favoured a reduction in time limits.  

Alongside campaigning to introduce abortion-up-to-birth, BPAS has objected to life-saving plans that would let coroners hold inquests for stillbirths over fears the move will recognise the humanity and personhood of an unborn baby.

Numerous women who had lost children in labour hit back at BPAS’ response. Among them was Caroline Tully, who had to fight for an inquest for her daughter Clara. She told the Mail on Sunday, that BPAS’ opposition “could come at a cost to the lives of unborn babies, by allowing unsafe practices to go unchecked.”

Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have pledged to introduce extreme changes to abortion legislation in their manifestos released last week. Both manifesto pledges have been welcomed by BPAS.

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

“If this campaign was successful we would see the upper time limit completely abolished. Abortion would be available on-demand, for any reason, right through to birth. This means abortion throughout pregnancy.

Polling shows that this extreme proposal is not supported by women, with only 1% of women wanting the abortion time limit to be increased right through to birth.

The proposed law change would leave us with one of the most extreme abortion laws in the world and further position England and Wales drastically away from Europe where the most common abortion time limit among EU countries is 12 weeks.

MPs should be committing to bringing forward sensible new restrictions and increased support for women with unplanned pregnancies. This would ensure we were working together as a society to reduce the tragic number of abortions that happen each year.”

ENDS

  • For additional quotes and media interviews contact +44 7907 272151 or email press@righttolife.org.uk  
  • For further information on Right To Life UK visit www.righttolife.org.uk 
  • Savanta ComRes interviewed 2,008 GB adults online between 12th and 14th May 2017. Data were weighted by age, gender, region and socio-economic grade to be demographically representative of all GB adults. Full data tables are available here: Full data tables are available here: https://www.comresglobal.com/polls/where-do-they-stand-abortion-survey/ 

Press release – 80 MP candidates sign Both Lives Pledge since launch on Wednesday

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

80 MP candidates sign Both Lives Pledge since launch on Wednesday

24 November 2019 – Eighty candidates from around the country have signed the Both Lives Pledge since it was launched on Wednesday this week.

Earlier this week Right To Life UK  launched a major general election campaign – the Vote For Both Lives campaign – a large-scale initiative they are running throughout the country in the lead up to election day on 12th December.

The Both Lives Pledge outlines three policy changes that are designed to increase protection for babies in the womb and end pregnancy discrimination for women – policies that will save lives by protecting and supporting both mother and child. 

  1. Stop discrimination against baby girls by supporting a law change to clarify that sex-selective abortion is illegal.
  2. Bring UK law closer to the laws in the majority of EU member states by lowering the gestational time limit for abortion.
  3. Support women in the workplace by backing policies designed to end pregnancy and maternity discrimination.

These policies are likely to be brought forward by politicians in the next parliament. Independent polling by Savanta ComRes shows that all three policy changes are strongly supported by the public. 

  • 89% of the general population and 91% of women agree that gender-selective abortion should be explicitly banned by the law. 
  • 70% of women in the UK want to see the time limit for abortion reduced to 20 weeks or below.
  • 79% of the general population and 84% of women agree that women who want to continue with their pregnancies, but are under financial pressure to have an abortion, should be given more support. Ending pregnancy and maternity discrimination would help provide many women across the country with the financial support they need to care for their children and themselves.

An analysis of the voting records of the 75 MPs that have stood down ahead of the general election, shows that 55 (73%) had a predominantly pro-abortion voting record during their time in parliament.

The abortion lobby has made it clear that they will be seeking to introduce an extreme abortion proposal in the next Parliament, most likely as an amendment to the Domestic Abuse Bill.

Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have pledged to introduce extreme changes to abortion legislation in their manifestos released earlier this week. 

An analysis released earlier this week show that there has been a 1300% increase in taxpayer funding for abortion giant Marie Stopes since Conservatives took power in 2010. 

Constituents are being encouraged to visit www.righttolife.org.uk/bothlives where it takes 30 seconds to ask their candidates to sign the Both Lives Pledge.

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK,  Catherine Robinson said:

“This is the biggest response we have seen to any election campaign we have run ever.

Since we launched the Vote For Both Lives campaign on Wednesday, tens of thousands of emails have been sent from constituents throughout the country asking them to sign the Both Lives Pledge.

Eighty MP candidates have now signed the Both Lives Pledge making it clear that if elected they will be supporting important measures to increase protection for babies in the womb and end pregnancy discrimination for women. These are policies that will save lives by protecting and supporting both mother and child.

It is fantastic to see such a strong response from the community and MP candidates as the UK faces what is one of the most important elections for life issues in a number of decades.

In the next parliament, the abortion lobby will likely be back in full force, pushing to introduce new extreme abortion legislation.

The Both Lives Pledge outlines three policy changes that are designed to increase protection for babies in the womb and end pregnancy discrimination for women. These are policies that will save lives by protecting and supporting both mother and child.”

ENDS