A Northern Irish woman who had an abortion when she was a teenager has spoken out against a legal bid to weaken the law.
Lynn Coles, who now helps women with post-abortion trauma, said she was saddened by claims that women in Northern Ireland are second-class citizens because their law differs to Great Britain’s.
“How patronising and insulting is that?”, she wrote in a letter to the Belfast Telegraph.
In Northern Ireland abortion is illegal except to save the life of the mother, but in the rest of the UK it is allowed up to 24 weeks – and up to birth in the case of some disabilities.
Lynn Coles has worked for the past 20 years helping people recover from the trauma of abortion and now leads a Christian programme that stands alongside women seeking support.
She wrote her letter after the High Court in Belfast heard arguments from the Human Rights Commission to weaken abortion law in Northern Ireland.
Judge Mark Horner reserved judgment in the case, saying the arguments on both sides had given him “food for thought”.
Lynn said: “If there were no problems after abortion, there would be no need for abortion recovery programmes.”
Commenting on the issue of women travelling to England for an abortion, she pointed out that the “trauma is not in the travelling”, the “trauma is the abortion itself”.
“It doesn’t matter if I get a bus ride or a taxi to my abortion. The end result is that abortion changes us forever.
“It is never a positive experience. It is never uplifting. It is never empowering.”
She concluded: “We have seriously failed women if they still see abortion as their only ‘choice’ in this day and age.
“Abortion is never good healthcare for us as women, men, families and society.”
Last year Lynn spoke out in The Christian Institute’s Choose Life series about her experience.
She commented: “It’s not a religious thing to regret your abortion”, “it’s actually a human thing, a woman thing – because we’re not designed to take the lives of our children”.
Lynn recalled her “complete ignorance” about abortion. The doctor who persuaded her to have the abortion at the age of 18 told her that “the baby wasn’t really a baby” just a “blob of cells”.