In response to the comment from Goretti Horgan that the Both Lives Matter, ‘One hundred thousand lives saved’, report uses a figure “plucked from thin air” (January 19), we would like to clarify that leading economist, Dr Esmond Birnie, has commented that the methodology we used is both ‘plausible and cautious’.
For anyone tempted to think that an ‘estimate’ is unhelpful conjecture, it is important to remember that estimates are relied upon in policy-making all the time.
For example, the Office of National Statistics produces widely accepted estimates on the population of the UK annually which guide policy-making across vital areas such as health, education and justice.
Recently, pro-abortion campaign groups have used their own polling to produce their own estimates in order to further their own argument.
We must therefore carefully assess all estimates, polling and statistical figures as the abortion debate continues in Northern Ireland.
Ms Horgan also says that our figure is out by “40,000”, a figure which she seems to have plucked from thin air. We contest this but even if that is the case, it still remains that a minimum of 60,000 lives have been saved.
The fifty years since the implementation of the 1967 Abortion Act has provided us with extensive government resources on which to approach the issue of abortion and pregnancy crisis in Northern Ireland.
We would challenge those calling for wider access to abortion, to engage with our findings not dismiss them simply because of a different perspective on abortion.
The Both Lives Matter campaign is primarily concerned with the wellbeing of both the mother and child. When we talk about one we talk about the other. As long as the abortion debate remains solely focused on the rights of one individual, the systemic and structural issues that surround pregnancy crisis will continue to be ignored.
We stand with women and unborn children calling for world-leading support, services and better care than abortion.
The report is available in full on our website; www.bothlivesmatter.com.
We are keen to engage with those both opposed to and in support of the Both Lives Matter campaign and contact details can be found on our website if anyone wishes to get in touch.
Dawn McAvoy, Both Lives Matter