BLOG: 10 Reasons we need to Repeal Section 9

On 22nd October 2019, abortion was legalised in Northern Ireland. After years of hard-fought campaigns to keep abortion out of the North, overnight and in the blink of an eye, the killing of unborn babies was legalised. Through the Draconian actions of a Westminster Government, who showed nothing but contempt, ignorance and alarming arrogance towards the people of Northern Ireland, the most extreme abortion regime in Europe became the law of the land. The principles of devolution and the democratic process were discarded and betrayed. Babies in the womb, once protected in law, policy and practise – making Northern Ireland a global beacon of hope and a safe haven for the most vulnerable – were abandoned.  All meaningful legal protection for unborn babies and their mothers – right up to the 7th month of pregnancy (28 weeks) – was instantly erased.

To make matters worse, this catastrophic change was not even brought about through a democratic vote from our own government, nor through the will of the people, nor because of any tangible or significant public demand for a change to our laws. Rather, this brutal legislation was crafted by an abortion-extremist British Labour MP, Stella Creasy, and subsequently rushed through Parliament in a matter of days using a special fast-track measure, insidiously just in time for the summer recess.

The people of Northern Ireland were failed miserably by their own elected representatives. Politicians were well aware that the NI electorate had voted persistently for pro-life politicians for many years. It was also no secret that, as recently as 2016, the Stormont Parliament had voted overwhelmingly to reject abortion in the so-called ‘hard-cases’ of life-limiting conditions along with in cases of rape and sexual crime, never mind abortion on demand.  The prospect of abortion, suddenly made legal on-demand for absolutely any and no reason right up to 7 months was a horrifying and unbelievable one to thousands of people. It resulted in Precious Life’s largest ever public awareness ‘Fight-Back’ Campaign, with hundreds of you donating, attending events, tirelessly leafleting, canvassing in the cold and dark, knocking on doors and a record-breaking 20,000 people bringing Belfast to a standstill for the ‘March for Their Lives.’

Still, our politicians largely turned a blind eye and chose to ignore the enormity of the situation and the thousands of innocent, voiceless and invisible citizens whose lives were on the line. Many people believe that some did not do enough. Much worse, pro-abortion politicians including those in Sinn Fein refused to return to Government to form an Executive, and later celebrated with glee, the imposition of abortion by an external Government hell-bent on railroading over the principles of devolution and the wishes of the electorate.

Going forward into 2020, Precious Life will be accelerating our efforts to make sure this law – Section 9 of the Executive Formation Act – is repealed as soon as possible. We have all been shamefully let down by many of the same people we voted for, and whose wages we paid for, so that they could represent us and uphold our views and values. Below, we list ten major reasons why Section 9 must be repealed. With the return of Stormont, we must ensure that the protection of unborn children is at the top of the list for our elected representatives and remains there. We must ensure that the media, our politicians and those around us know that we will never stop being a voice for unborn babies, and that we are not going away until abortion is made illegal and unthinkable.


REASON #1. The law now means that abortions, for any reason, will be legal up to the 7th month of pregnancy (28 weeks) and potentially up to birth in Northern Ireland. This law will allow abortion for any reason, up to 7 MONTHS (28 weeks). Because of the Repeal Sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Persons Act in Northern Ireland, the only legal protection for unborn children remaining is now the Criminal Justice Act which only applies from 28-weeks gestation. In other words, prior to 28-weeks there is now no law on abortion. This will leave Northern Ireland with one of the most extreme abortion regimes in Europe. and could make Northern Ireland, a once safe haven for unborn children, the LATE-TERM ‘Abortion Capital’ of Europe.

REASON #2. Section 9 of the Executive Formation Act means that babies born alive after ‘failed’ excruciating late-term abortions will be left to die, with no legal recognition of their personhood and therefore, no obligation for medical staff to give them help.

REASON #3. ‘Disability-selective’ abortions - up to birth - for babies with disabilities such as Down’s Syndrome, cleft lip, cleft palate, or club foot will be legal in Northern Ireland from March onwards. In countries where late-term disability-selective abortion is legal, the statistics are frightening. In the UK, over 90% of babies prenatally diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome are aborted. In Iceland, this figure is 100% and the country has vowed to be ‘Down Syndrome free’ by 2030 through killing babies with the condition before they are born.

REASON #4. In Northern Ireland, baby girls could be legally killed in ‘sex-selective’ abortions simply because of their gender (a procedure common in Britain). Also, in pregnancies with twins, it will be legal to select one child to live and one child to be aborted. Head of BPAS, Britain’s largest independent abortion business, Ann Furedi, admitted she is supportive of abortion in the case where the baby is believed to be the ‘wrong gender.’ (Loose Women, August 2017).


REASON #5. There is so far no provision in this law for ‘conscientious objection’ protections for doctors, nurses, or auxiliary staff who don’t want to be involved in abortions Northern Ireland. Medical staff face the prospect of having to facilitate abortions against their will. Without the right to conscientiously object, medical students can be prevented from practicing, medical workers can lose their jobs and, in some cases, can be prosecuted for telling the truth about the development of the unborn child in the womb.

REASON #6. Under this legislation, ‘Fast-track’ abortions can be introduced. Under this legislation, women in Northern Ireland will have no waiting period nor time to reconsider abortion, leaving them more vulnerable to a lucrative abortion industry. In the UK, the Care Quality Commission reported that Marie Stopes, Britain’s second-largest abortion provider, paid their staff bonuses as to persuade women to go through with profit-making abortions. It is clear that these providers can NOT be trusted to provide counselling that is not biased, but there would be no legal requirement mandating independent counselling to ensure that this conflict of interest would not occur.

REASON #7. Pregnant women will have no legal protection throughout all 9 months of their pregnancies. If they lose their baby through assault, the attacker will not be charged for murder of the unborn child because they are no longer recognised as a person in law. This law will also seriously endanger women and make them vulnerable.

REASON #8. Private abortion clinics with a shocking history of abuses will be set up with no legal restrictions. A December 2016 report from the UK Care Quality Commission showed doctors had been bulk-signing abortion consent forms and many women hadn’t met the abortion doctor until they were having the procedure at Marie Stopes clinics. A further investigation by a national newspaper revealed more unethical and unsafe practises, with abortions beingsigned off by call centre workers with no medical training after discussions which were as short as 22 seconds.

REASON #9. Under-age girls will be allowed to have abortions without their parents’ knowledge or consent. The proposed under the repeal of Section 9 does not mention the introduction of any specific legal safeguards to prevent third-parties from taking under-age girls for abortions without their parent’s consent. This could possibly also include an adult who has sexually abused a child who has become pregnant and takes them for an abortion to help cover-up that they have been sexually abusing a child.

REASON #10. The State could have the authority to force vulnerable women to have abortions against their will. In June 2019, a young woman in her early 20s with a learning disability was ordered by the Court of Protection in England to have an abortion against her will. This ruling was only overturned in a last-minute Court of Appeal decision which stopped doctors from performing an abortion – that was already underway – on a woman who wanted to have her baby. The proposed framework does not mention the introduction of legal safeguards to ensure the State doesn’t force citizens in Northern Ireland to do the same. 

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