Bill will do little to cut the number of abortions performed in Northern Ireland

A letter from Nicole Lappin:

Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 6:30 am
Letter to the editor

I refer to Siobhan Beattie’s letter (‘Presbyterian Church should call for immediate abolition of all abortion in Northern Ireland,’ May 27, see link below).

I agree with Ms Beattie’s call on the Presbyterian Church to stand up, speak out and call for the immediate abolition of abortion.

Those who claim a pro-life stance cannot fudge the issue by supporting the regulation of abortion and I would welcome an informed debate on it.

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Like Ms Beattie, I am also a member of the Presbyterian Church and have been considering my position within it ever since I learnt that it expressed support for the Severe Fetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill which is currently making its way through Stormont.

To be clear, the Presbyterian Church does not represent my view on this issue as I cannot support this bill.

While I believe that many people behind the bill view themselves as pro-life, I have considered carefully how it will impact on the numbers of abortions carried out.

Sadly, it is clear that the bill seeks to regulate when abortions can be carried out and will not abolish abortions.

Further, if the bill becomes law it will mean that women seeking to obtain an abortion will simply do so before 24 weeks, which means that there will be little, if any, reduction in the numbers of abortions currently being performed.

Across society, the only fair way to gauge whether there is public support for abortion or not is to hold a referendum on it. Abortion: yes or no.

If the majority favours abortion then our politicians can gauge how far that support goes through a public consultation.

If the answer is no, then the Northern Irish people will have spoken and none of us will have to be concerned about others speaking on our behalf on such a controversial and sensitive matter.

Nicole Lappin, Dollingstown

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