Friday, 15 April 2016


Northern Ireland's Moral Dilemma

The above front page appeared in one of our local papers recently and brings before us the very stark moral situation that is to be found in Northern Ireland.

The girl in the picture on the left found puppies that were left to die in a skip. She rescued them, adopted one and is rightly commended for her kind-hearted action.

The headline on the right directs our attention to a recent court case where a young woman was charged with accessing drugs which caused her to abort her child, the remains of which she disposed of in a bin.
Her housemates who found the aborted child, which was able to be identified as a male, were not commended for reporting it to the police but instead were lambasted on social media for interfering.
Why, because they were concerned not about the life of a animal but that of an unborn child. A human life, that is rightly protected by the law of our land.
This was not some unrecognisable collection of cells, the Housemates state "There was a fully-formed baby in our bin with little toes and fingers". It was not just a foetus, or an embryo, it was a baby, a human being that had been residing in what should have the safest place until the time of his birth.

David the Psalmist writes in Psalm 139 "For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:" Every child is a blessing, a gift from God. Sometimes they do not have the perfect health that we would like but that does not diminish their worth. Every child is still precious in the sight of God and deserving of our love and care.

Abortion has become for many the standard means of dealing with unplanned pregnancies, but in reality it is the taking of the life of the unborn child. A transgression of the Sixth Commandment "Thou shalt not kill."
The Lord Jesus Christ said in Mark 12:30-31  "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."
How can we rightly love our neighbour if we do not care for the defenceless unborn child?
Our soldiers have gone to other lands to protect those under the heel of oppressive dictatorships, but what about the silent voice of the unborn child? Where is their protector?

In an age when there is much talk about love and tolerance, where is the love for the child of the unplanned pregnancy?

Tuesday, 12 April 2016


FIGHTING AGAINST BLASPHEMY



The Government and Morals Committee of Presbytery have been engaged in on-going correspondence with government departments and other bodies on the moral issues of the day.

In November last year a play was staged as part of the Outburst Queer Arts festival in Belfast called, The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven" The preview of the play on the Outburst festival website described how in the play there was a "revolutionary queer ritual in which bread is shared, wine is drunk and familiar stories are re-imagined by a transgender Jesus."

The Bible reveals the Lord Jesus Christ as the King of Kings and Lord of Lord’s and the eternal Son of God. The title “Queen of Heaven” is only used in the Bible in the book of Jeremiah to describe a heathen goddess whom God condemned. Furthermore the Bible teaches that homosexuality and transgender is sin. The play was a blasphemy against the Saviour whom we love and serve.

The Government and Morals Committee contacted various government departments and bodies who were listed as having sponsored this play. Among those contacted were, the Arts Council, which distributes funds from the National Lottery, Belfast City Council, The Department of Culture Arts and Leisure, The Department of Social Development and the Public Health Agency.

It was pointed out to each that under Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act public bodies have obligations relating to promoting good relations between people of different religious beliefs, ethnic origins, and political opinions. The Government and Morals Committee indicated that for the LGBT lobby to portray the Son of God, as something other than who He is does nothing to promote good relations. Rather it is our belief that it was their direct intention to make a mockery of Christ.

The Presbytery Committee received a number of replies, a couple of which denied that they had done anything that was contrary to section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act and urging that the Government and Morals Committee take the matter to the Equality Commission or the PSNI if they thought the law had been breached.

The reply that was most dismissive was that from the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure, which said that they supported the artist’s right to freedom of expression. The Arts Council stated that they took their obligations under section 75 very seriously but seemed to think that its only obligation under section 75 was “to promote equality of opportunity between persons of different religious beliefs.” However they look to have ignored the second section of the Act, which says, “a public authority shall in carrying out its functions relating to Northern Ireland have regard to the desirability of promoting good relations between persons of different religious belief, political opinion or racial group.

Belfast City Council appeared to want to distance themselves from the event and said that their contribution was part of an overall support given to the Community Festivals Fund and that they did not specifically support this event. They also pointed out that the Outburst Programme contains the statement views expressed through Outburst events are not necessarily shared or endorsed by our funders, sponsors or partners.  The letter seemed to imply that the views of the play were not those of Belfast City Council.

The most satisfactory reply was from the Department of Social Development, which said that they had reviewed their procedures to ensure greater scrutiny of event programmes in the future.

It is hoped that our protest will result in greater scrutiny of events and that this kind of blasphemy will not be supported by public money in the future. We would ask you to pray for the Government and Morals Committee, which has the job of replying to government consultations on moral issues and of making our voice heard when issues like this arise.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Blasphemous Play

Back in November 2015 a blasphemous production was shown as part of the Queer Arts Festival in Belfast.
Below is the content of correspondence sent to the five public bodies that funded this vile event. 

We write on behalf of the Government and Morals Committee of the Free Presbyterian Church to express our outrage that public money has been used to fund a blasphemy against our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Committee felt it needed to express protest at the blasphemy in the play, "The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven" performed on November 15 at the Outburst Queer Arts Festival in Belfast. In this play the Lord Jesus Christ is portrayed as a transsexual. The preview of the play on the Outburst festival website described how in the play there is a "revolutionary queer ritual in which bread is shared, wine is drunk and familiar stories are re-imagined by a transgender Jesus."

The Bible reveals Christ as the "King of Kings and Lord of Lord’s" and the eternal "Son of God" and the title "Queen of Heaven" is only used in the Bible in the book of Jeremiah to describe a heathen goddess whom God condemned.

Furthermore the Bible teaches that homosexuality and transgender activities are sinful. Among those that 1Corinthians 6:9-10 informs us shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven unless they repent are the “effeminate” and the word is almost certainly a reference to homosexual prostitutes who dressed as women.

We do know that God has made us male and female in his own image. In Genesis 1:26, the Bible says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

Maleness and femaleness are God’s choice, determined at conception. This may not be politically correct but this is the historic teaching of Christianity. Therefore Jo Clifford the playwright must have known that his play would cause offence. Indeed it would be our belief, although we know that the playwright denies it that the play was written with the intention of causing offence. It has certainly done that because many evangelical Christians and others from other communities have been outraged at this play.

Your organization/department has been involved in funding this play. Did you know beforehand that this play was part of what you were funding?

If you did not, would due diligence not have obliged you to have found out?

Under Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act public bodies have obligations relating to promoting good relations between people of different religious beliefs, ethnic origins, and political opinions.

Surely funding the LGBT lobby to portray the Son of God as something other than who He is does nothing to promote good relations. Indeed we contend that you have funded the LGBT lobby to make a mockery of Christ.

Christians do not react as some Muslims do to such a blasphemy (ie with violence) but does that mean we are fair game?

We feel the mockery of our Saviour just as much as they do their revered figures, but we are not a violent people. However we do demand that government and government funded organisations do not facilitate and promote attacks upon our Saviour.

I think the least that should be done is that funding to this festival be reviewed and that they be asked to repay the money they were given to produce and promote something of deep offence to Christians.

Yours Faithfully

David McLaughlin (Rev)
Gordon Dane (Rev)

Thursday, 11 February 2016

No to Abortion changes!

We welcome the outcome of yesterday's debate within the Northern Ireland Assembly that no change will be made to the current abortion law in Northern Ireland.
We commend each MLA who voted against it.

Below is a report by the Christian Institute:

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 voted 64 to 32 against allowing abortion in cases of sexual crime.
During the debate, politicians from different parties expressed concern about the proposals.

‘Abortion on demand’

DUP MLA Emma Pengelly said medics had advised that there is no such term as “fatal foetal abnormality”, a point echoed by SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly.
Kelly also warned that changing the law in this way could pave the way for “abortion on demand”.
Abortion is not good healthcare for women Callum Webster
Before the debate, Attorney General John Larkin QC raised concerns that changing the law in this way could breach obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Vital protection

The DUP has asked the Health Minister Simon Hamilton to set up a working group to look into the issues raised by severely life-limiting disabilities.
The Christian Institute’s 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.

Overwhelming opposition

“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.

Lasting trauma

“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.

‘Precious hour’

“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.”

http://www.christian.org.uk/news/mlas-block-push-to-weaken-protections-for-unborn/

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Proposed amendments to the Justice (no 2) Bill
In 2015 the Department of Justice held a consultation regarding the criminal law on abortion. 
This focused on two aspects - Lethal foetal abnormality and sexual crime. The response was reported as follows -  
• There were 712 individually written responses. 579 of these opposed change, 133 supported change;
• There were 65 responses from representative organisations and interested groups.
47 of these supported change, 18 were against;
• there were 921 letters opposing change written in support of seven lobby campaigns which may have been organised by individual churches or faith groups;
• There were 23,622 petition signatures opposing change. The petition, called Project Love, was organised by Every Life Counts Ireland. It was made up of 18,000 postcards, delivered to the Department by Precious Life; a further 2,197 sent directly to the Department and 3,425 signatures to the electronic version of the petition on a website called CitizenGo.org.

Despite the overwhelming public opposition, at the end of last month proposed amendments were made by the Alliance party and the Green party to implement these changes to the Justice Bill.
It seems they are intent on riding roughshod over the views of the people to fulfil their own liberal agenda.

While we acknowledge the pain and the trauma of both parents and the women involved in each of these cases, the Bible teaches us that every life is important before God. David could say in-
Psalm 139:14 “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works;”

It is our Christian duty in obedience to the commands of God to preserve life and not to end it.
Exodus 20:13 Thou shalt not kill. 

If a child develops cancer or some handicap then both the parents and the medical profession will rightly do all that they can to preserve the life of their child and provide the best level of care that is possible, why should this be different if the child is still in the womb?

Why should we as a society make such excellent provision for those who are disabled to integrate into normal life and at the same time end the lives of those whom we fear may be born disabled?

The amendment states-
(a) a pregnancy is terminated by a registered medical practitioner where a diagnosis has been made of a foetal abnormality which is likely to prove fatal, and
(b) the diagnosis was made by two suitably qualified registered medical practitioners who are of the opinion, formed in good faith, that—
(i) the condition of the foetus is likely to cause death either before birth, or during birth, or, (ii) if a live birth should occur, there is no medical treatment which could be offered to alter the fatal nature of the condition or improve the chances of survival.

What if the medical Practitioner gets it wrong?
They did in the case of Dale Eakin –
Remember - one of main arguments for the abolition of capital punishment was the risk of an innocent person being executed.

Who defines the scope of “a foetal abnormality which is likely to prove fatal”?
 According to the Department of Health abortion statistics for England and Wales in 2014-
3,099 abortions (2%) were carried out under ground E (risk that the child would be born handicapped).  
When those figures are broken down 662 abortions were due to an assumed diagnosis of Downs syndrome, others for spina bifida, cleft lip and cleft palate.

 In the case of Rape-
 Rape is a crime, as is incest and yet why should the innocent unborn child be the one to suffer. The child is as much a victim as the mother; the taking of the life of the child only compounds the damage that has been done.
One victim made the comment that the birth of the child was the only light to come out of such a dark event. Another woman who had suffered this terrible crime made the comment that she had got over the rape but not the abortion.  
Figures released by the Rape Crisis Network Ireland in 2013 showed that in 90 cases of pregnancy through rape only 17 women and girls chose to have a termination. In the 2014 report, 40% of those who became pregnant went on to give birth and parent their children.

Dangers of abortion.
Abortion for many has left them suffering from depression and a sense of guilt that they may never get over. This is confirmed by a number of studies- 
· A study in Finland revealed a six-fold increased rate of deaths from suicide among aborting women. (BMJ 1996; 313:1431-1434)
· A study conducted in Wales on 408,000 women between 1991 and 1995; found that women who had induced abortions were 225 percent more likely to commit suicide than women admitted for normal delivery. (BMJ 1997; 314:902)
There is also the risk associated with future pregnancies after induced abortion to be considered as well.

Regardless of the liberal agenda within society, if we depart from the laws of God then it will be to the detriment of our land. 

Therefore we urge that the abortion Law in Northern Ireland remain as it is.
The Lord Jesus Christ said regarding the children-
Matthew 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.



Friday, 5 February 2016

Latest turn in the Ashers Baking Company case!

Reported in the Belfast Newsletter 3/2/16


A high profile appeal by Christian bakers who were found to have discriminated against a gay customer has been dramatically halted to facilitate an intervention by Northern Ireland’s top legal adviser.

Attorney General John Larkin QC has made a last-minute request to make representation in the case about any potential conflict between the region’s equality legislation and European human rights laws.

The McArthur family’s refusal to bake the customer’s order for a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan was ruled unlawful last year.
Northern Ireland’s Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan said: “It is most unfortunate this issue has arisen only two days before this hearing.
“Although we have all tried to see if we could proceed with the case given the amount of work that has been done.
“It seems to us that it is simply not possible to do that without running into some risk of fairness in the hearing.
“We are not going to proceed with the hearing today.”
Gay rights activist Gareth Lee, a member of LGBT advocacy group Queer Space, had wanted a cake featuring Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie with the slogan Support Gay Marriage for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia in May 2014.

He paid in full when placing the order at Ashers’ Belfast branch, but two days later the company phoned to say it could not be processed.
The high-profile case was heard over three days last March.
Delivering her reserved judgment two months later, District Judge Isobel Brownlie found Ashers directly discriminated against Mr Lee who had been treated “less favourably”, contrary to the law.
Ordering the bakers to pay agreed damages of £500, the judge said religious beliefs could not dictate the law.

The Northern Ireland Equality Commission, which monitors compliance with the region’s anti-discrimination laws, took the landmark legal action on behalf of Mr Lee.
Mr McArthur said the bakery treated Mr Lee like any other customer.
The appeal, which has been adjourned until May, was being heard before three of Northern Ireland’s most senior judges.
Afterwards, Dr Michael Wardlow - chief commissioner with the Equality Commission, expressed disappointment at the delay.
He said: “We came here today for this very important case and we were looking forward to hearing the arguments.

“We are very disappointed that at this very late stage another argument has come in and that has to be resolved.
The reality is it could take months.”
Throughout the brief hearing Mr Lee sat in the front row of the public gallery beside representatives of the Equality Commission.
Three rows behind were Ashers directors Karen and Colin McArthur with their son, the firm’s general manager Daniel McArthur, and his wife Amy, plus Simon Calvert from the Christian Institute, which has garnered public support and financial backing for the bakers.
Also in court were Democratic Unionist MLAs Paul Givan and Edwin Poots, a former Stormont health minister.

Much of the hearing was dominated by complex legal argument around how the so-called “devolution issue” could be handled.
Robin Allen QC, representing the Equality Commission, said it was up to the court to decide whether to “salami slice” proceedings.
He added: “I dive into these waters with some degree of trepidation.”
However, Sir Declan Morgan said there was a danger of “losing track” of the argument if the case was split in two with any arguments from the Attorney General being heard at a later stage.
He added: “We all have life jackets on.”

Outside the court, Mr Calvert spoke on behalf of the McArthur family.
He said: “The court has adjourned the hearing essentially because of the importance of the issues at stake. The Attorney General has raised a number of issues. We were neutral as to whether those issues came in but the court wants to hear them.
“It just confirms that this is a really important case and the court and all the parties want to make sure all the issues are properly rehearsed in court and we will be back on May 9 to do that.”
The hearing has been adjourned.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Proposed changes with regard to Criminal law on abortion.


On behalf of the Government and Morals Committee of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster we would like to respond to the proposed changes with regard to Criminal law on abortion.


The introduction to your consultation states, “It is not a debate on the wider issues of abortion law – issues often labelled as ‘pro-choice’ and ‘pro-life’.” And while we appreciate that the Justice Department does not want to be drawn into a deeper debate on this issue it is very hard to divorce the two subjects for they are linked. 

As a church body we seek to adhere to the teaching of Scripture as found in the Ten Commandments on the preservation of life from the time of conception until natural death.

The proposed changes to Criminal law relate to two specific aspects surrounding the subject of abortion in connection with foetal disability and rape. While this has caused much media attention in recent days we believe that there is another agenda being pushed by those who desire a more liberal society and a lowering of moral standards.

In fact we view the changes being pushed within society as bringing about a devaluing of human life, whether it is that of the unborn or the elderly person who cannot care for themselves. Society has become selfish and does not want to care for the disabled at any end of the age spectrum and this proposed change is feeding that vile appetite.

We are concerned by some of the terms that are used within this document-

Section 1:1 of the document refers to a foetus being "incompatible with life"; this does not make sense since by definition-

"A foetus is an unborn animal or human being in its later stages of development." (Collins English Dictionary)

The fact that development has commenced at the point of conception means that there is life. From the time of conception cells have been growing and reproducing at a vast rate. "life" is defined, as the ability to grow and to reproduce, so by the very fact that the unborn child is named a foetus is clear evidence that it is alive. Therefore the reference to a foetus being "incompatible" with life is absolute nonsense.

With that point in view this consultation is based upon an incorrect premise!

While we strongly disagree with the terminology used, there are some important questions that need to be asked-
  • Who determines if the foetus is "incompatible" with life?
  • On what basis do they make this determination?
  • How accurate are their procedures?
  • Have they been known to make errors in the past?

What we are speaking about is the importance and value of one life. We must bear in mind that the one of main arguments for the abolition of Capital Punishment was the risk of an innocent person being executed. Yet in this consultation there is the desire to murder the unborn children upon the basis of a judgment made by two medical Practitioners who have a very real chance of getting it wrong. 

From the perspective of a justice department is this the line you want to go down?

Question 2 - Should the law allow for abortion in the case of lethal Foetal Abnormality?
The case mentioned in the opening chapter of the consultation is that of Sarah Ewart, whose unborn child had been diagnosed with anencephaly. There are a number of disorders that are termed as "fatal foetal abnormalities", such as Anencephaly, Edwards syndrome (Trisomy18), Inencephaly and Potter’s Syndrome.

For the parents who are given the news from the medical profession that their child/ren may have one of these disorders it is heart rending. They face the possibility of a full term pregnancy and the likelihood that their little one/s may only live for a short space of time. 

For the mother who will feel the movements of the little one/s it is most traumatic. For while other expectant mums are making plans for a nursery she is unsure what to do. It is an issue, which affects not only the parents but also the family circle, and many tears can be shed and heartache felt over the situation.

In listening to and reading the comments made by Sarah Ewart this turmoil of mind is brought very readily to the fore. Yet we must remember that this unborn child is a human being. While the unborn baby may have what is termed a "lethal foetal abnormality", it does not detract from the fact that he/she is alive and has been growing within the womb. 

Advice/Support
Where such a diagnosis is made, it is vital that the parents have all the advice that the medical profession can give and that it is not assumed that they will have an abortion. 

A Report made by a working party of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in May 2010 entitled "Termination of Pregnancy for Foetal Abnormality in England, Scotland and Wales" made this recommendation-
" 6. It should not be assumed that, even in the presence of an obviously fatal fetal condition such as anencephaly, a woman will choose to have a termination. A decision to decline the offer of termination must be fully supported (section 6)."
(https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/terminationpregnancyreport18may2010.pdf) pg. ix

The Mail Online carried the story of Carrie Curtis on the 29th July 2013. This young 20 year woman was pregnant with a child that had been diagnosed with Potters syndrome and made the decision, that while there was a heartbeat she wanted to go full term. Yet she recalls how every fortnight when she went for her check-up she was asked if she wanted to terminate the baby.

In the case of a young woman such as Sarah, she and her husband should have the opportunity to meet with others who have faced similar situations and not opted for abortion. They should be provided with help as to how best to prepare for the birth of the child, what to expect and how to deal with the possibility of the infant's death at whatever stage it may occur.

Having had the opportunity to speak to the parents of three children, one of which has "Hydranencephaly" and is now 20 years of age, and one who had Microencephaly who passed away aged 3 1/2. We can say that contrary to what is regularly stated, such conditions are not always fatal. 

These parents had been advised to have an abortion that none of the children would live longer than a few days, but the medical Practitioners got it wrong and this is only one instance.

The sad truth is that for children born with such conditions, help is not forth-coming for either them or the parents. They are made to feel that they are unwanted and are placing an unnecessary burden on others. This is an issue that ought to be addressed. 

Section 4.13 states that ‘the Department believes that a woman…. whatever the effect on her mental health, should have the choice to terminate the pregnancy, if that is the action she considers appropriate.’ 

Does the Department believe that if a mother determines to continue with the pregnancy, she and the child should still have the full support of the medical facilities available?

Having read the comments of women who have had a similar experience, many of them spoke of the difficulty of the pregnancy knowing that they would most likely only see their child alive for a short time. Yet they were able to say that despite the stress and tears, they were better mentally and emotionally, for being able to hold their little infant and introducing him/her to the father and other family members. They indicated that by the time of the birth much grieving had been done and they were able to deal with the sad death in a more dignified manner.

Risks associated with abortion
Our concern is that pregnant women carrying a child, who may have what is termed a "fatal foetal abnormality", will be pushed into having an abortion without adequate advice and time being given. 

Abortion is portrayed as a quick-fix solution. A way to avoid the pain and grief that comes with the death of a child, a means of getting back to a normal routine as quickly as possible, and avoiding long periods of care for a very ill child, yet that is not the case. Abortion for many has left them suffering from depression and a sense of guilt that they may never get over.

The Medical journal Vol. 290 dated 23th March 1985 (pg. 908) details a study conducted in Mid Glamorgan between 1977 and 1981 focused on mothers who had an abortion because of fetal malformation. They make the following remarks-
"Twenty two women (46%) whose pregnancies had been terminated for fetal malformation recalled that at six months they still had symptoms of depression with some anxiety compared with none in the other three groups combined."
(Sequelae and support after termination of pregnancy for fetal malformation, British Medical Journal-VOLUME 290 23 MARCH 1985 pg 908)

In the report mentioned earlier "Termination of Pregnancy for Fetal Abnormality in England, Scotland and Wales" dated May 2010, with regard to Post Termination care we read "Well-organised follow-up care is essential after a termination for fetal abnormality. Anecdotal feedback from Antenatal Results and Choices indicates that this is an area of care that some women find lacking."

Evidently since the study in the Medical Journal dated 1985 very little has changed with regard to the care given after abortion yet it is being readily promoted as a solution to an already traumatic experience. There is risk of depression and other studies indicate an increased risk of suicide-
  • A study in Finland revealed a six-fold increased rate of deaths from suicide among aborting women. (BMJ 1996; 313:1431-1434)
  • A study conducted in Wales on 408,000 women between 1991 and 1995; found that women who had induced abortions were 225 percent more likely to commit suicide, than women admitted for normal delivery. (BMJ 1997; 314:902)
  • There is also the risk associated with future pregnancies after induced abortion to be considered as well.

Options presented
The suggested option four of permitting abortion on the guidance of medical practitioners as to "'compatibility' with life" is based on the premise that they are always right. This places a lot of responsibility at the feet of the medical Practitioners with regard to the definition of "fatal" and how long the child lives after he/she is born. The suggestion that two doctors sign off the abortion “in good faith” is not a sufficient safeguard as the 1967 Abortion Act has a similar provision and has been widely abused.

The statistics for abortion in England and Wales reveal that there were 185,331 in the year 2013. The largest number of abortions fell under category C which relates to the perceived mental risk to the mother's life. This high rate stands in stark contrast to abortion statistics for Northern Ireland.  2,732 abortions were on the basis of ground E (there is substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped). This statistic includes 590 abortions for Down’s Syndrome and other illnesses that can be well treated and managed with current medical advances. Such figures are extremely alarming and we fear that the altering of the law to accommodate fatal foetal abnormality could become a stepping-stone to widespread abuse of any child who may be born with a disability.
It is this trend that causes us great concern. There seems to be a mindset that if the unborn child is perceived to be impaired then abortion is a legitimate line to follow.

As mentioned this is a very emotional case and cannot fail but touch the heart of everyone who hears about it. However caution is advised for as the saying goes "hard cases make bad law". 

While the numbers of such cases are thankfully low we cannot dismiss them. These are parents facing a situation more traumatic than anything they have ever encountered. They need adequate support, care, and information about the condition of the unborn child. We believe that while a full-term pregnancy may be hard yet it gives the parents time to come to terms with the birth of the child and what to expect. They are also given the opportunity to see the little one, which helps mentally and physically in dealing with the child's passing.

We must also view this proposal of option 4 in the light of recent reports of gender selection taking place, which brings into the spotlight how legal abortions are being regulated.

So in this circumstance we do not believe that abortion should be permitted.

Questions 6 to 9 Should the law be changed to allow abortion in the case of rape of other sexual crime.
The subject of sexual crime is one that we seldom want to talk about and yet it is a very real problem in our country. The sexualisation of women within the music culture and within the media makes them the target of the most depraved of crimes in society.
Sadly this extends to the abuse of young children and the assault of anyone in such a manner is heinous.

The increase in sexual crimes is alarming and we believe it emphasises the need for stricter sentences with relation to these offences. We commend those facilities that provide counselling and help for those affected and the work that has been done to deal with human trafficking.

The proposal relating to sex crime is one that has been highlighted in the media and we do not believe that abortion is the answer. The victim needs love, care and compassion and to compound the wrong done to a victim by aborting her unborn child is not conducive to the welfare of the mother.

The main argument expressed in this instance is that it would not be right to expect a woman to carry a child for 9 months that would be a constant reminder of the sexual assault that has taken place against her and we understand that.

However is the killing of the unborn child the way to correct that crime? Two wrongs never make a right.

Rape is a crime, as is incest and yet why should the innocent unborn child be the one to suffer. The child is as much a victim as the mother; the taking of the life of the child only compounds the damage that has been done.

We have already looked at the aftermath of abortion and again the woman has just come through one trauma and is it right to inflict another upon her?

One victim made the comment that the birth of the child was the only light to come out of such a dark event. Another woman who had suffered this terrible crime made the comment that she had got over the rape but not the abortion.  Figures released by the Rape Crisis Network Ireland in 201312 showed that in 90 cases of pregnancy through rape only 17 women and girls chose to have a termination. This is one study but the figures equate to just 15% of the total. 
(http://www.rcni.ie/rape-pregnancy-and-abortion-in-ireland-rcni-release-new-figures-today/  )

It is our belief that help and comfort are best given to a mother at this time and that abortion will not bring peace, or justice to the individual or their family. 

Question 17 Should there be a right to a conscientious objection for those who participate in treatment for abortion in respect of (i) lethal foetal abnormality (ii) sexual crime. 
We do not support a change to the law. However in the case that abortion is legislated for in these circumstances it is vital that a statutory conscientious objection clause is introduced. The 1967 Abortion Act, which operates on the mainland, protects freedom of conscience.