PRESS RELEASE: Precious Life Denounce UK Government's Decision to Fund NI Women's Travel Expenses For UK Abortions

It has been announced that women on low incomes from Northern Ireland who seek a free NHS abortion in England will also receive state support to pay for their travel costs, the Government has announced. Precious Life are deeply concerned over the move from the British Government to further facilitate and in effect, encourage, women from Northern Ireland to access abortions. 

hose who meet defined financial hardship criteria will be eligible for the measure, meaning that low income women will not only be allowed ‘free’ abortions on the NHS (which in actuality costs the UK taxpayer at least £600 per abortion) but will also be provided with free travel and accommodation. The move comes shortly after it was announced just this summer that the NHS in England would start to provide abortions cost-free to women who travel from Northern Ireland.

Precious Life Director Bernadette Smyth this afternoon expressed her concerns surrounding the decision. Mrs Smyth branded the decision “regressive” and “wholly undemocratic.” Mrs Smyth pointed out that abortion is a procedure which does not help women but rather is profoundly anti-woman, referencing the Coleman Study in the British Journal of Psychiatry in 2011, an analysis of 22 studies which showed that women who had an abortion experienced an 81% increased risk of mental health problems including anxiety, depression, alcohol and drug dependence and suicidal behaviour. Furthermore, Mrs Smyth pointed out that nearly 10% of all incidents of mental health problems was attributable to abortion. "The evidence exists - we need to act on this knowledge and seek a solution for women in crisis pregnancies by offering our support and love for both mother and child. Women here deserve so much better than abortion and the physical and mental health risks it carries so heavily," Smyth said.

Mrs Smyth further termed abortion providers in the UK “callous” and pointed out that leading abortion providers, such as BPAS and Marie Stopes, are much more focused on profit as opposed to the women they claim to look after. This was highlighted in a recent report from the Care Quality Commission which was abysmal for Marie Stopes, the UK’s largest abortion provider, finding that basic health and safety standards were repeatedly not met and quite incredibly, there were 400 botched abortions in the space of just 8 weeks. Additionally, women were left needing blood transfusions and further medical treatment after so-called "safe"  abortions.

“By no definition is abortion safe for either mother or unborn child. We cannot deny fundamental truth at a time when so much knowledge exists surronding the dangers of abortion. The fact that the UK Government are putting in place facilitations for abortion for NI women is abhorrent and unacceptable,” Mrs Smyth added. "One of the most important things to clarify is that abortion is not 'healthcare' as pregnancy is not an illness or a disease. Women here deserve and are in need of real, life-affirming healthcare that protects the welfare of both mother and child," Mrs Smyth added.

Bernadette Smyth concluded, “It must be for Northern Ireland’s elected representatives to continue to uphold the right to life of unborn children in law, policy and practice. Life is a right, not a privilege for the planned and perfect. As we know, Northern Ireland prides itself on protecting both mother and child in law, policy and practise. Abortion is a completely devolved matter here and the Westminster Government have no duty or right to override our democratic process here. Northern Ireland prides itself on its ability to love both mother and child in law, policy and practise and we will continue to do so." 

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