73% oppose promotion of abortion to children in Northern Ireland schools

Precious Life are demanding that the UK Government remove the RSE programme they forced on Northern Ireland schools on 1st January 2024. The call follows publication of the responses to a Public Consultation on the programme which revealed over 73% of responses were opposed to it.


The Government’s Secretary of State for Northern Ireland – Chris Heaton Harris – issued new requirements for RSE (Relationships and Sexuality Education) that forced all post-primary schools in Northern Ireland to teach children how to “access abortion”; and teach them that killing babies in the womb is a “legal right”.  The Government didn’t allow a full public consultation on their programme. However, a limited consultation, running for only 12 weeks, was launched in September 2023 by the Department of Education. This consultation consisted of only 4 statements, where respondents were asked to AGREE, DISAGREE, or NEITHER AGREE or DISAGREE. Respondents also had the option of providing ADDITIONAL COMMENTS.

The Government purposely only allowed a limited consultation to conceal any real opposition to their plans. However, Precious Life launched a campaign urging the public to respond, but use the “additional comments” section to state their total opposition to the Government’s forced RSE programme.

The results of the Consultation were published by the Department of Education on 5th January 2024. A total of 13,461 responses were received with over 25,000 comments.

A massive 73% of respondents opposed the Government's forced RSE programme. 92% of respondents said parents/carers should always be informed about the specific nature and content of any RSE programme. And 96% said parents/carers should always have access to any school’s RSE policy and programme.

Director of Precious Life Bernadette Smyth said, “We thank everyone who responded to our campaign to show their opposition to the Government’s compulsory promotion of abortion to school children in Northern Ireland.

“The number of responses was unprecedented for a Department of Education consultation. This shows the strength of feeling from the people of Northern Ireland on this issue.”

She added, “Chris Heaton-Harris and his Government must end their complete disregard for democracy and devolution, and their total disrespect for the views of the people of Northern Ireland. We demand Heaton-Harris and the Government listen to the 73% majority in Northern Ireland and remove this abortion-promoting RSE programme from our schools.

Parents cannot trust any RSE teaching programme for their children when it comes from a Government that says killing babies is a ‘legal right’. It is the fundamental right of parents to be the first educators of their children, not the Government.”

Bernadette Smyth concluded, “The UK Government used Section 9 of their NI Executive Formation Act to force abortion on Northern Ireland.  Now, with the same powers the Government bestowed upon itself through Section 9, they are forcing pro-abortion propaganda on our school children. Precious Life’s REPEAL SECTION 9 Campaign continues until ‘Section 9’ is repealed and rejected in its entirety.”

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