‘We believe in right to life – but IRA killings and abortion are different’

Francie and Anne Brolly
Francie and Anne Brolly

A husband-and-wife duo who both quit Sinn Fein over its abortion stance have insisted that terminations of the unborn are different to killings carried out in the Troubles.

Francie Brolly, a former MLA, and Anne Brolly, a former Limavady mayor, were both speaking to the News Letter after the party voted on Saturday to liberalise its abortion policy.

During the interviews, both of them talked of the value of human life as being core to their anti-abortion beliefs.

For example, Anne Brolly asked why people talk about “equality and rights and justice, and then will not allow the inalienable right to life?”

Her husband meanwhile said “I think any decent, civilized human being would be against killing unborn babies – it just seems to be absolute savagery”.

It was put to them that many people would wonder how this can be reconciled with the last few decades of physical force republicanism.

Mrs Brolly said she “can never speak for the IRA”, but believes they would say “they were defending themselves”.

“I don’t think you could put that in the same category as wilfully targeting a defenceless voiceless unborn child in the womb,” she said.

“It’s not comparable.”

Mr Brolly said of the Troubles: “Neither side was wrong, and neither side was completely right. Because war and that kind of violence between human beings is not the sort of thing anybody wants.

“It’s wrong. It’s wrong to kill a fellow human being.”

But he too said the issues are “not comparable” because in the case of “an IRA man killing a soldier, or a soldier killing an IRA man... they both know what they’re doing – they’re adults, they can think”.

He added: “But to kill an innocent baby in the womb, I think that’s inexcusable in any man’s language.”

Since he had declared that killing is wrong, he was asked if he therefore condemning both republican and loyalist paramilitarism together.

“I’m not condemning either side,” he said.

“Fundamentally what we want people to do is find ways of sorting out their problems without killing one another.”

And he joked: “I do that in my own house here, you know.”