New poll finds strong majority in NI oppose new law allowing disability-selective abortion right up to birth

A majority of people in Northern Ireland are against introducing disability-selective abortion up to birth, a new poll has found.

The survey, conducted by Northern Ireland-based pollsters LucidTalk, found nearly three-quarters of respondents (72%) were against abortion to birth for babies with a cleft palate or cleft lip. Only 15% were supportive of introducing abortion to birth for cleft lip or cleft palate.

Over two-thirds (67%) of respondents were also opposed to abortion for Down’s syndrome between 24 weeks gestation up to birth.

The poll, which had 1,878 respondents and was conducted between 3-5 June, is further evidence the people of Northern Ireland do not want Westminster imposing an extreme abortion regime on the province.

New and extreme abortion regulations drawn up by Westminster last year in the absence of a functioning Northern Ireland Assembly came into force in March.

Under the new regime, disability-selective abortion will be available up to the point of birth for all disabilities, including cleft lip, cleft palate, club foot and Down’s syndrome.

Earlier this month, the Northern Ireland Assembly passed a motion opposing the extreme regulations which have been imposed on the province by the UK Government.

Across the two votes held, 75 MLAs voted against the provisions in the regulations allowing abortion for non-fatal disabilities.

However, the UK Government has claimed it has obligations to impose the extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland – something which has been questioned by two leading lawyers in a House of Lords report and by Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP.

Members of the House of Lords will debate and vote on the regulations today, ahead of a debate and vote in the House of Commons later in the week.

Ahead of the debate, Lord Shinkwin has proposed a motion to decline the regulations on the grounds that they discriminate and perpetuate stereotypes against those with a disability.

The peer, who was born with a rare genetic brittle bone disease, told News Letter:

“This polling demonstrates how out of touch the government is with public opinion in driving these outdated and discriminatory regulations through Parliament.

“Although technically the regulations only relate to Northern Ireland, the whole UK Parliament is being invited to endorse them and to thereby legitimise disability discrimination.”

Baroness O’Loan has also tabled a motion urging peers to reject the Northern Ireland Abortion (Northern Ireland) (No. 2) Regulations 2020.

In her motion, the former police commissioner notes the extreme abortion regime has been rejected by the Northern Ireland Assembly, discriminate against those with a disability and will allow for sex-selective abortion in the first 12 weeks of gestation.

In response to the poll results, DUP MP Carla Lockhart said: “These polling results underline yet again why it is monstrous that the UK government should seek to impose a discriminatory abortion regime on Northern Ireland.”

“In crafting regulations that say it is OK to terminate viable unborn babies between 24 weeks gestation and full-term because they have a non-fatal disability, while saying that viable babies of exactly the same age should be protected from this because they don’t have a disability, the law says loud and clear that the lives of people with non-fatal disabilities are less valuable than those with fatal disabilities, with fatal consequences.”

CARE NI, who commissioned the poll, said the results “highlighted yet again that Westminster is out of touch and the issue of abortion law should be returned to the NI Assembly”.

Poll shows majority of Sinn Fein and DUP voters reject Conservative Government’s proposed abortion framework for Northern Ireland

A new poll organised by the University of Liverpool and Britain’s Economic and Social Research Council has shown that 58% of Sinn Fein voters and 54% of DUP voters  want their country’s new abortion framework to only allow abortions when the mother’s life is at risk. This is a clear rejection of the extreme proposed abortion framework that the UK Government wants to impose on the people of Northern Ireland.

The polling demonstrates that the Conservative Government has no mandate from the people of Northern Ireland to go further than legally required when introducing Northern Ireland’s abortion framework.

The poll of 2,000 people showed that:

  • 58% of Sinn Fein voters supported abortion being available only where the mother’s life is in danger.
  • 54% of DUP voters supported abortion being available only where the mother’s life is in danger.
  • Only 5% of all voters support introducing abortion through to 24-weeks – which is in-line with what the Conservative Government has proposed introducing to Northern Ireland.

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 the limited changes strictly necessary for the Government to comply with 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.

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

“This polling shows a clear rejection from the people of Northern Ireland for the UK Government’s plans to impose an extreme abortion framework on Northern Ireland.

“Only last month, Sinn Fein and the DUP put aside their differences which allowed the Northern Irish Executive to be restored. This was celebrated across all communities in Northern Ireland, and by the UK Government, as an opportunity for the people of Northern Ireland to get their voice back. 

“One issue which unites the majority of both Sinn Fein and DUP voters is the rejection of the UK Government’s proposed extreme abortion framework. If the devolution settlement of Stormont is to be respected, the cross-community view against this extreme abortion framework must be respected.

“If the UK Government pushes ahead with their extreme abortion framework proposals, they would be undermining the devolution settlement at a time when it is already fragile. 

With Stormont restored, it is vital that the people of Northern Ireland have a say on their country’s new abortion framework through their elected representatives in the Northern Irish Assembly. 

The law sadly requires the UK Government to introduce a new abortion framework in very limited circumstances. Going further than what they are legally bound to do demonstrates a will from the UK Government to impose their abortion-on-demand ideology on Northern Ireland, which would be surprising considering the Conservative Party claims abortion is a matter of conscience. 

To stand up for the devolution settlement; to show that they are listening to the voters of Northern Ireland; to be consistent with their party’s own position; and ultimately to protect the unborn child, I urge the Conservative Government to drop their proposed extreme abortion framework for Northern Ireland, and only implement what that they are legally bound to do.” 

Majority of Americans want new legislation protecting unborn babies, wide-ranging poll reveals

The majority of Americans want to protect unborn babies from abortion after the first three months of pregnancy, a new poll has found. 

The new Marist Poll, shows seven in ten Americans want to protect unborn babies from abortion after the first three months of pregnancy. Nearly half (47%) of respondents who identify as ‘pro-choice’ agreed. 

Additionally, the survey found that almost two-thirds of Americans (65%) say they “are more likely to vote for” candidates who would protect unborn babies from abortion after the first three months of pregnancy. This includes more than four in 10 (44%) people who identify as Democrat voters – despite the party trying to introduce abortion up to birth in some US states. 

A new Gallup poll, released this week, also found a record number of Americans are unhappy with the nation’s abortion laws – a shift mostly caused by growing dissatisfaction among Democrats. 

Additionally, six in ten Americans oppose the use of tax dollars for abortion in the US, while an overwhelming three-quarters of Americans oppose funding overseas abortion. 

The January 2020 poll finds that, by a margin of more than five to one (80% to 14%), Americans say that laws can protect both a mother and her unborn child. 

By more than 10 percentage points (52% to 41%), a majority of Americans, believe that women should be required to have an ultrasound prior to having an abortion.

The results of the polling were released ahead of the 47th annual March for Life in Washington DC, which attracted hundreds of thousands of pro-life marchers yesterday. 

Yesterday, President Trump became the first-ever president in history to speak at the march.

The results echoes what we see in the UK where polling, from Savanta ComRes on whether time limits for abortion should be increased showed only 1% of women wanted the abortion time limit to be increased right through to birth. In contrast, 70% of women who favoured a reduction in time limits.

Similarly, to the US, there seems to be a growing dissatisfaction among voters towards candidates more likely to vote for abortion policies. Analysis, conducted by Right To Life UK, shows the current number of pro-life MPs has increased while the pro-abortion lobby has lost a large number of MPs.

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

“Surveys like these show the limitations and illusion of the ‘pro-choice’ label and how misleading it can be. Polling consistently shows a significant number of people who identify as pro-choice also support a variety of pro-life positions.

“Pro-abortion activists, around the world, often conflate the pro-choice label to claim support for a whole host of extreme abortion measures that in reality very few people want to see. We see this in the UK with Marie Stopes International, BPAS and other activist groups aiming to hoodwink the general public and lawmakers in their push for more extreme abortion laws. 

“However, in the UK, over 70% of women want the abortion limit to be reduced to 20 weeks or lower. Only 1% of the population want abortion to be available up to birth.”

Thousands march for life in the Netherlands following poll showing youth now most pro-life generation

Over 11,000 people joined the Netherlands ‘March For Life’ 2019 to proclaim the right to life of unborn babies and highlight the suffering that abortion brings.

Campaigners marched in silence through the city of Utrecht carrying signs that said: “we stand up for the rights of the unborn child,” “we love them both” and “I am the pro-life generation”

The organisers of the event, noted that a “striking” number of young people were in attendance.

The Leader of the Reformed Political Party, Kees Van der Staaij, also noted the young crowd, saying: “more and more younger people say that it has gone too far how that is arranged in the Netherlands”. He added: “There is change in the air”.

Gert Jan Maarten Segers, a member of the Christian Union Party, said: “It is 2019, not 1970. Young people think more critically about abortion and are open to arguments. How encouraging is that!”

Researchers at Tilburg University found that Dutch people in their 20s and 30s are more likely to be pro-life than those who are older than them.

The study, due to be published in the journal Mens en Maatschappij, is based on data from a European study that has been ongoing for almost 40 years. Over 7,000 Dutch people are part of the research project, answering questions on issues such as abortion and euthanasia.

The difference between younger and older generations is only getting bigger, the Tilburg researchers say.

This is an emerging trend across Europe and around the world.

UK polling, conducted in London earlier this year, shows that 18-34-year-olds were also more likely to be pro-life than those older than them.

Gallup’s annual public opinion poll on abortion revealed younger generations were more likely to call for Roe v. Wade’s overturn than older survey respondents.

The Director of Netherlands’ March for Life, Kees van Helden believes it is important to have the freedom to offer support to women outside abortion clinics. He told the young March for Life audience: “At the clinics we still find women who cancel their abortions at the entrance to the clinic every week. As long as we stand there and people abort the abortion, that means that there is something structurally wrong… So something really needs to change.”

He revealed the pro-life organisation are busier than ever assisting women with unplanned pregnancies. In 2014, they had 100 requests for help, but last year received over 520 requests.

Over 30,000 abortions take place in the Netherlands each year.

(Image credit: Schreeuw om Leven)