UPDATE: Precious Life hold Pro-Life Witness outside Belfast Court to say "Life is a Right not a Privilege"

UPDATE: Precious Life hold Pro-Life Witness outside Belfast Court to say “Life is a Right not a Privilege”

Precious Life held a pro-life witness outside Belfast’s Royal Courts of Justice today (Wednesday 30th January) to highlight that Northern Ireland’s laws matter because they protect unborn babies and their mothers from abortion. Precious Life are the only pro-life organisation which is acting as ‘Third Party Intervenors’ in this Judicial Review, which is challenging our pro-life laws in Northern Ireland. Through acting as Intervenors in the crucial case, Precious Life are able to present 'The People's Submission' - giving the pro-life majority in Northern Ireland an unequivocally vocal voice to save mothers and babies from the violence and tragedy of abortion.

The woman at the centre of the case had an abortion, at 21 weeks, in England following a prenatal diagnosis of a life-limiting condition.

Director of Precious Life Bernadette Smyth said, “We will be a voice for the unborn child in the Court room today. This Judicial Review is challenging Northern Ireland's pro-life laws, with the ultimate aim of legalising abortion of little babies prenatally diagnosed with life-limiting disabilities - right up to the moment of birth. The vast majority of unborn babies with life-limiting conditions are diagnosed at the 20-week scan. Therefore, it is late-term abortion that this case is attempting to legalise in Northern Ireland.”

Mrs Smyth continued, “Abortion is not and never will be a form of healthcare because real healthcare does not kill unborn babies. Pregnant women, in the difficult situation of receiving a poor diagnosis for their baby, need real care, love and support to ensure they have the precious time with their sick child, as well as healing and closure. However, abortion is very damaging and traumatic for women. The introduction of abortion is not a realistic or compassionate response for families in these heart-breaking circumstances. In Northern Ireland, we need to tackle the lack of funding for truly compassionate alternatives such as perinatal hospice care and crisis pregnancy support - rather than legalising abortion, which kills an unborn baby and damages women mentally and physically.”

The legal team backed by pro-abortion group Amnesty International will attempt to use Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) – the right to respect for private and family life – to justify killing unborn children. In June 2018, four of seven judges in the Supreme Court in London expressed their opinion that the law against abortion in Northern Ireland was incompatible with Article 8 of the ECHR. However, their opinions are not legally binding on NI law.

Bernadette Smith said, “The Supreme Court judges’ statement on Article 8 was merely ‘opinion’ and not legally binding, so cannot be used to advance an abortion agenda in Northern Ireland. Article 8 of the ECHR must not be used to override any breaking of the law here. There is no ‘right to abortion’ – but there is a ‘right to life.’ The right to life of all members of the human family is enshrined in internationally agreed declarations, conventions, and covenants.”

She added, “Every person has a right to life regardless of predicted lifespan, circumstance of conception, gender, race or disability. Our laws against abortion do not breach any ‘human right’. There is no ‘human right’ to abortion under any international legal treaty, convention or instrument including the ECHR, UDHR and the ICCPR. But the right to life is the most fundamental human right. Without the right to life, all other rights are meaningless."

Bernadette Smyth concluded, “The right to life is neither granted by the Court nor the State. However it is their duty to uphold this fundamental and unalienable right. Further, it is not for the courts to undermine the democratic process here. Our laws are a matter for our elected representatives and Assembly. The legislation in Northern Ireland ensures that mothers and their unborn children are protected in law, policy and practice. Precious Life will continue to be a voice for the unborn child - on the streets, in the courts, and at government level.  We will ensure abortion is kept not only illegal, but unthinkable.”

Thank you for your ongoing support to help us keep abortion not only illegal but unthinkable in Northern Ireland,

Yours in Life,

The Precious Life Communications Team

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