The Christian Institute

News Release

‘Heartening’ Stormont vote rejects co-ordinated pressure to weaken protections for the unborn

The Christian Institute

Thursday, 11 February 2016

For immediate release

The Christian Institute has welcomed as ‘heartening’ Stormont’s refusal to weaken legal protections for the unborn in Northern Ireland.

Late last night MLAs voted 59 to 40 against amending legislation to allow abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality. They also voted 64 to 32 against allowing abortion in cases of sexual crime.

Northern Ireland Officer Callum Webster said that the existing law, permitting abortion only when the mother’s life is at risk, is a vital protection for women.

“It is heartening that the majority of MLAs have voted to uphold the sanctity of life today at Stormont. There has been a media campaign to undermine the legal protections afforded to our unborn children, but thankfully politicians have resisted that co-ordinated pressure.

“Abortion is not good healthcare for women. Instead we need to look at improving perinatal hospice care provision for babies with very limited life expectancies”.

Mr Webster added: “The Government’s own consultation last year showed that the public overwhelmingly opposes weaker abortion legislation – in fact less than one per cent favoured changing the law.

“The Assembly has stood up for the people of the Province and against those who wish to sell abortion as a positive choice whilst devaluing the lives of the most vulnerable in our society.

“I have had the privilege of meeting many women who have a different story to tell about abortion than the one popularised by the pro-abortion activists.

“Women like Lesley McAskie who was raped at 13 years old. A truly horrific experience but one made even worse by the lasting trauma of aborting her child.

“Women like the late Hilary McDowell – born with multiple disabilities and given a life expectancy of just 3 weeks – who went on to become a highly successful writer and broadcaster.

“Women like Charlene McCabe, whose little girl Myla had Edwards Syndrome, a severe genetic disorder that would have been covered by these amendments. She told me that the time she had with Myla was the most precious hour and 55 minutes of her life – time she would never forget.”

“We know doctors are not infallible and they know that themselves. I have spoken to a couple right here in Northern Ireland who were told their son had a fatal foetal abnormality and were pressured to abort. The diagnosis was completely inaccurate.

“And what about the voice of the unborn? The children whose lives are on the line because someone decides that their life is not worth living. I was able to meet Gary, conceived through the awful trauma of rape but whose mother refused to abort him – a decision for which he is grateful beyond words.

“And these are just a few examples. Today, these people, and many more like them, can take comfort in the knowledge that their voices have been heard and that people like them are recognised for their value as human beings and for the incredible contribution they make to society.”



– Watch personal stories about abortion, fatal foetal abnormality and sexual crime at:

– Justice Minister David Ford ran a consultation between October 2014 and January 2015, asking for views on allowing abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality and sexual crime.

– Of the 25,320 responses to the consultation (including petition signatures, and letters from individuals and organisations) just 0.7 per cent of responses were in favour of changing the law.

– The Christian Institute is a non-denominational national charity which since 1991 has been working on issues including religious liberty, marriage and the family, and Christian education.