Precious Life Vow to Step Up Their Efforts
Our “Vote for Life 2017” Campaign for the Northern Ireland Assembly Election was one of our most intensive ever. We organised public meetings all across Northern Ireland with volunteers, and many more new recruits, distributed thousands of our campaign leaflets, going door to door by day and by night, and church to church every weekend to encourage the electorate of Northern Ireland to "Vote Pro-Life".
However, we knew we faced an uphill battle to maintain the pro-life majority in the Assembly at Stormont.
Firstly, the number of MLAs to be elected was reduced after a Bill was passed in 2016 to cut the number of MLAs from 108 to 90 by reducing the number of seats per constituency from six to five.
Secondly, the election was called after the collapse of the Assembly over the “Renewable Heat Incentive” (RHI) scandal. So we knew many people would use this election to make a “protest vote” on that issue. The election itself then also became more polarised with many people feeling they had to vote to protect their ‘nationalist’ or ‘unionist’ identity.
But despite all this coming against us, the actual vote share of pro-life candidates elected was only down by 1.2%
After all the results were declared - for the reduced number of 90 seats - the number of pro-life politicians and pro-abortion members is now almost neck and neck.
However, we still claim a victory because our ‘Vote for Life’ campaign ensured the return of a strong pro-life voice in the Assembly. There is still more than enough pro-life Assembly members who can sign a ‘Petition of Concern’ if pro-abortion members try to pass any bill that would legalise the killing of our unborn babies. 30 signatures are required for a ‘Petition of Concern’ which can still effectively veto any abortion bills.
While there has been some criticism of how the Political Parties use the “Petition of Concern” mechanism, it was part of the ‘Good Friday Agreement’ as voted for by the people of Northern Ireland. It was designed to ensure that MLAs from one community did not trample on the rights of another community. So for legislation on abortion, it is essential that the fundamental right to life of unborn children is not trampled on by pro-abortion Assembly members
Yes the pro-life battle ahead will be tough. But that means we now step up another gear in our efforts to protect our unborn children. We now plan to launch a new lobby campaign to ensure the pro-life Assembly members continue to stand up and speak out for the protection of our unborn children.
The political situation in Northern Ireland means there is still an ongoing “peace process”. But as St Teresa of Calcutta said, “The greatest destroy of peace is abortion.” There can never be genuine peace in Northern Ireland if there is no peace in the womb. Precious Life will continue to be a ‘voice for the unborn child’ when and wherever their lives are in danger.