Editor’s note. This appears on the blog of John Smeaton, executive director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC).
SPUC welcomes the appointment of Edwin Poots as Northern Ireland’s new health minister.
Liam Gibson, SPUC’s Northern Ireland development officer, told the media earlier today:
“SPUC will be praying for success for Mr Poots as Northern Ireland’s first pro-life health minister as he faces enormous challenges. SPUC will be watching closely to see how he intends to resolve the ongoing problems surrounding the health department’s guidance on abortion law and clinical practice.
In 2007 Mr Poots supported a motion rejecting the original draft of the department’s guidance as flawed and which called upon the then minister ‘to abandon any attempt to make abortion more widely available in Northern Ireland.'”
In an intervention during an Assembly debate on 22 October 2007, Mr Poots made his views on abortion very clear:
“I speak as someone who has a close family member with a disability. Will the Member agree that those who support abortion on the basis of a child being born with a deformity are devaluing that child before it is born? Will he also agree that — given that almost seven million children have been aborted since the 1967 Act was passed and that almost two million have been terminated since the House last debated the issue — future generations will look back on this period in the way that we look back on the period when children were used to clean chimneys and people were kept as slaves?”
Liam also told the media:
“Twice in recent years SPUC has successfully taken legal action against Mr Poots’ predecessor in order to remove guidance that threatened the rights of women, unborn children and medical personnel.
The health department’s relationship with the pro-abortion Family Planning Association (FPA) urgently needs to be re-examined. The issue of public funding for FPA especially needs be looked at. Mr Poots is likely to face significant opposition from within his own department, as a number of senior civil servants are not sympathetic to pro-life concerns. However, if Mr Poots does bring forward pro-life measures, he will have the support both of most assembly-members and the people of Northern Ireland.”