A consultation in Northern Ireland on weakening the law to allow abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities and sexual crime has been launched.
The Department of Justice is inviting comments on amending legislation, which currently permits abortion only if the mother’s life is at risk.
The Justice Minister David Ford is recommending that the law is changed to allow abortion for conditions where the baby is not expected to survive beyond birth, and is asking for views on cases of rape or incest.
The Christian Institute has highlighted stories of mothers who said no to abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality and rape.
Gary Moore was conceived through rape and is so grateful that his mother did not give in to pressure to abort him.
Bonnie and Phil’s daughter Grace was diagnosed with anencephaly – where the baby is born without parts of the brain and skull – a condition which would be covered under Ford’s proposals.
Bonnie and Phil saw the pregnancy through, and are glad they could spend 15 precious minutes with their baby daughter.
The consultation document from the Department of Justice includes the example of a lady whose unborn child was diagnosed with the same condition.
The case was heavily publicised by the BBC, because she travelled to England to have an abortion.
Post traumatic stress
But Peter Saunders, Chief Executive of the Christian Medical Fellowship, has said that abortion for fatal foetal abnormality leads to severe post traumatic stress for the mother.
“Rather than leading to psychological well-being, termination of pregnancy for foetal disability is an emotionally traumatic major life event which leads to severe posttraumatic stress response and intense grief reactions that are still detectable some years later”.
Bernadette Smyth of the pro-life campaign group Precious Life raised serious concerns about the consultation.
Love and support
“These women need care, they need love and support”, she said.
“We believe women deserve better than abortion”.
The consultation closes on 17 January 2015.