Bernadette Smyth of Precious Life Addresses the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly Committee

Precious Life’s Bernadette Smyth today gave a powerful presentation to the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly Committee highlighting the importance of our pro-life laws and the long-standing and widespread opposition to the introduction of abortion in Northern Ireland.

Mrs Smyth presented clear evidence to the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly Committee today, (12th October 2018) on behalf of the pro-life people of Northern Ireland who have been consistent in their opposition to abortion and who have made their voices emphatically heard. The vast majority of people in Northern Ireland have been strongly in opposition to any change to Northern Ireland’s pro-life laws and Bernadette Smyth of Precious Life could prove this through Precious Life’s crucial and comprehensive work in recent years.

She told the Committee that in 2013, Precious Life presented a 300,000-strong petition to the Northern Ireland Assembly calling for the protection of unborn babies and their mothers from abortion in Northern Ireland. Forty seven boxes full of individuals’ names and Northern Ireland postal addresses were then delivered to the Stormont Parliament Buildings.

These boxes contained a whole range of pro-life petitions from numerous Precious Life Campaigns including: 250,000 petitions collected from campaigns such as: the Abortion – not in my nameCampaign; the Basic Right Campaign; the Protect the Human Campaign, and petitions opposing the extension of the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland.

Furthermore, Bernadette Smyth referred to the collection of 35,000 petitions presented as part of theProject Justice campaign (September 2018) as well as 30,000 ‘Stop Marie Stopes’ petition postcards.

Extra petitions which have been collected by Precious Life and were referred to today included20,000 petitions from Northern Ireland presented to the European Parliament in Brussels as part of the One of Us Campaign in opposition to EU funding of research involved in the destruction of human embryos. Furthermore, over 25,000 petitions were presented as part of the Project Love Campaign in opposition to the then Justice Minister David Ford’s public consultation on changing the law to allow abortion for children conceived in rape or those with life-limiting disabilities.

Bernadette Smyth also told the Committee about Precious Life’s current campaign ‘Personhood begins at conception’ which is ongoing and so far 15,000 petitions have been collected from people recognising that human life starts at conception, opposing a change to our laws.

Bernadette Smyth told the Committee that the role of any government is to protect the weakest and most vulnerable among us who have no voice and who cannot defend themselves. “Our laws are in place to offer protection to every member of our society, born as well as unborn. That is the reasonour laws matter, they are essential and they are progressive, modern and compassionate.

“I’m proud to be able to speak on behalf of the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland who have been consistent in their opposition to abortion, and who reject abortion as a barbaric, regressive and medieval answer to unplanned pregnancy. The work of Precious Life has given the people of Northern Ireland a real chance to have their voices heard – and we can see that there is absolutely no on-the-ground demand for abortion in Northern Ireland regardless of what Amnesty International and the wider abortion lobby claim. Rather, there is a powerful and resolute demand for better resources and care than the violence of abortion. I would stress the very real need for better provision of perinatal hospice care, a much needed service we highlighted through our Project Love Campaign.”

Mrs Smyth concluded, “Although there is a concerted campaign to caricature the people of Northern Ireland as living in some sort of archaic society simply because we do not believe in or legislate for abortion, hundreds of thousands of people choose to recognise that abortion is a great injustice and that women and babies do not deserve abortion. From our activism on the streets of Northern Ireland daily, we know that the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland, when properly informed, are emphatically against abortion as a so-called solution to unintended or difficult pregnancies. So many people we interact with through our activism are really proud of our pro-life laws which afford protection to both mother and child. Furthermore, the response to our campaigns illustrate that the majority of people in Northern Ireland demand real help, love and support for the families of babies with life-limiting conditions.”

Bernadette Smyth also reminded the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly Committee that abortion is a devolved issue in Northern Ireland and that we do not need exterior forces at Westminster trying to undermine the principles of devolution and railroad over our democratic process.”

Please contact us to get involved with our urgent Lobby for Life Campaign and play your part in saving NI’s women and babies from abortion!

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