100,000 people alive today because 1967 Abortion Act not extended to Northern Ireland

​Editor’s note. This comes from our friends at SPUC–The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. The 1967 Abortion law, which applies to the rest of the United Kingdom, does not apply to Northern Ireland. Additional background follows SPUC’s post.

A new report has estimated that the lives of 100,000 people have been saved because of Northern Ireland’s pro-life laws.

The report was produced by Both Lives Matter, a new collaborative movement of individuals and organisations seeking to reframe the abortion debate in Northern Ireland. The figure was calculated using abortion rates across the rest of the UK.

“There are people alive in Northern Ireland today who would not have been born if the 1967 Abortion Act had been introduced here,” said Spokeswoman Dawn McAvoy. “Using a statistically cautious approach, we estimate there are 100,000 people alive today who would not be had we introduced the 1967 Abortion Act.”

David Ford vowing to continue push for abortion for disabled babies

The report comes as David Ford, who had been pushing for a law allowing for abortion in cases of “fatal foetal abnormality” before the collapse of the Northern Ireland Assembly on Monday, has vowed to continue his efforts.

“Should the people of South Antrim re-elect me to the position of their MLA, on my first day back I will go to the Speaker’s office and resubmit my bill, with a view to progressing it through the next assembly term, Ford said.

The Northern Ireland Assembly decisively rejected the legalisation of abortion for babies with life-limiting conditions in a vote in February last year. [See below.]


Pro-abortion forces have Northern Ireland’s protective abortion laws squarely in their crosshairs. Last year pro-lifers thwarted an attempt to change Northern Ireland’s very protective abortion law to include exceptions for so-called “fatal fetal anomaly.”

A proposal to allow abortions in cases of fatal fetal anomaly was defeated last February by a vote of 59-40. An amendment relating to pregnancies which are the result of rape or incest was defeated by 64 votes to 30. Members of the Alliance party were responsible for introducing both.

Northern Ireland is under constant attack.

In 2015 a Belfast High Court judge ruled that abortion should be made available “where the baby had a severe disability or was conceived through rape,” according to Life Institute’s Niamh Ui Bhriain. “The case was taken by the Northern Ireland Human Right Commission and the ruling has been described as driving a coach and horses through Northern Ireland’s abortion law.”

Attorney General John Larkin is appealing the ruling.

Last November the Supreme Court heard assertions that Northern Irish women are “second class citizens” on abortion. This claim was made by Stephen Cragg, who is representing two women who want women from Northern Ireland to be allowed access to National Health Service-funded abortions when they go to England to abort.