Precious Life expresses ‘grave alarm’ over 16 abortions last year

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The Precious Life group has expressed grave alarm over the 16 abortions that were carried out by the Health and Social Care Trusts in the North last year.

The group made the claim after the Department of Health revealed on Wednesday that there were 16 terminations of pregnancy in Health and Social Care hospitals during 2015/16, all carried out on women normally resident in the north of Ireland.

The Department revealed that during 2015/16 there were nine terminations of pregnancy carried out on women aged 30 years and over, five terminations of pregnancy carried out on women aged 25 to 29, and two on women aged 24 and under.

Precious Life director, Bernadette Smyth, said: “Precious Life are gravely alarmed by these latest Department of Health figures.

“Over the past year, sixteen so-called ‘lawful’ abortions were committed by healthcare professionals in hospitals throughout Northern Ireland.

“This means that there were sixteen cases where healthcare professionals supposedly believed it was necessary to abort an unborn child to save the life of the mother or to prevent a real and serious and permanent or lifelong adverse effect on her physical or mental health.

“Grounds F or G of the 1967 Abortion Act permit abortion if it is immediately necessary to save the life of the mother or to prevent grave permanent injury to her physical or mental health.

“Only 10 abortions have been carried out under these grounds in England and Wales over the past 10 years. So why have 16 abortions been carried out in Northern Ireland in one year?”

She said doctors should protect the lives of both women and their unborn children.

“Although serious threats to health can occur during pregnancy, the doctor has a duty to protect both patients: the pregnant woman and her unborn child.

“There are no medical indications for abortion in a properly managed pregnancy as was made clear by many prominent healthcare professionals speaking at the International Symposium on Maternal Health in Dublin in 2012,” said Ms. Smyth.