"Personhood begins at Conception" Campaign
What does it mean to be a “Person”?
To be a person is to be a member of the human family.
Every person, irrespective of stage of development, abilities, disabilities, or circumstance of conception, has an intrinsic value and dignity which ground his or her right to life.
This right to life cannot be taken away from us as it is rooted in our very humanity and it is the duty of our government to recognise and defend that right by its laws.
‘Personhood’ Legislation in Northern Ireland
Sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 and section 25 of the Criminal Justice Act (NI) 1945 recognises that the unborn child, at any and every stage of development, is a human being - a person - deserving of protection under the law.
These laws make abortion a criminal offence in Northern Ireland.
The purpose of these laws is to defend the right to life of every unborn child and protect them from the violence of abortion.
Why launch the ‘Personhood begins at Conception’ Campaign?
Right now, our unborn children are under serious threat. Babies in the womb diagnosed with life-limiting disabilities, or conceived through rape or sexual crime, are facing the threat of being killed by abortion.
In December 2015, Judge Horner in the High Court in Belfast ruled that our personhood laws protecting unborn children diagnosed with life-limiting disabilities and unborn children conceived in rape were “incompatible” with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.*
But the right to life of all members of the human family, whether born or unborn, with or without a disability, irrespective of the crime committed against his or her mother, is enshrined in international human rights law.
Ever since this ruling, pressure has been mounting on the Northern Ireland Assembly abandon our personhood legislation and to legalise the killing of unborn children in these cases.
In fact, in September 2016, Alliance MLA David Ford, brought forward a Private Members Bill to allow abortion of unborn babies with life‑limiting conditions right up to the moment of birth.
The aim of the “Personhood begins at Conception” Campaign is to defend our pro‑life laws and to ensure that every person, from the moment of his or her conception, continues to be protected in Northern Ireland.
*This ruling was appealed by the Attorney General for Northern Ireland and the Department of Justice in June 2016. The three senior judges in the Court of Appeal, chaired by Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan, are expected to give their judgment in the Autumn.
What does this Campaign involve?
As part of this Campaign, we are distributing Petition Postcards and throughout Northern Ireland and asking people to sign their name to the declaration: Personhood begins at Conception
These postcards will be sent to the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, to show them that the people of Northern Ireland are calling for the unconditional right to life of all human beings to be respected and that all children before birth continue to receive equal protection in law, policy, and practice, regardless of their disabilities or the circumstances of their conception.
What can I do to help?
You can help us in this campaign by:
• Signing the Petition (sign the online petition or a petition postcard*)
• Distributing the Leaflets and Petitions Postcards*
• Collecting petition signatures in your area/at your church etc*
• Contacting your Assembly Members (MLAs) urging them to
protect all unborn children (For a list of your Assembly Members, and how
to contact them, go to www.writetothem.com)
• Make a Donation to the Campaign
*For leaflets and postcards, contact campaign office on 028 9027 8484