Responding to the Government decision to provide funds to the NHS to cover the costs of women from Northern Ireland travelling to England for abortions which are not available in the Province because they are illegal, John Smeaton, chief executive of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, the world’s oldest pro-life group said:
“This is a most shocking development.
“In one of its first major decisions, Theresa May’s Government has abandoned neutrality on the abortion issue by deciding to provide funding for abortions, carried out in England, for women resident in Northern Ireland.
“This decision will not only prove fatal for Northern Ireland’s unborn children, killed at the British taxpayers’ expense, it places the women of Northern Ireland at the mercy of abortion providers such as Marie Stopes International and British Pregnancy Advisory Service which carry out the lion’s share of NHS abortions in England, whose dangerous practices have been roundly condemned in recent months by the Care Quality Commission.
“Theresa May’s government also shows total contempt for the will of the people of Northern Ireland where, with overwhelming public support, the politicians have repeatedly rejected legislative proposals which undermine the sanctity of human life by making abortion widely available.
“This is a black day for unborn children, for mothers and for democracy. It’s a great day for the abortion industry – which cares nothing about unborn children and for the welfare of women.”
Mr Smeaton continued:
“This is a betrayal on the grandest scale imaginable.
“Innocent unborn babies are being treated treacherously by this Government which has chosen death over life in an effort to save their skin.
“They have also betrayed the people of Northern Ireland by imposing abortion through the back door in England on a devolved nation which only hours earlier had been told by the most senior judges in the Province that the devolved assembly at Stormont held primacy on abortion laws. The Prime Minister and her Women & Equalities Minister Justine Greening have ignored that judgement for the Government’s own ends.
“Not content with funding abortions in Britain on an industrial scale the Westminster Government has decided to take upon itself further state sponsored killing of the unborn.
“We have been lectured for years by the Conservative Party that we are living in an age of austerity when money is tight and funds cannot be found for crucially important cancer treatments, educational developments and crackdowns on law and order.
“Yet in an act of the utmost obscenity this Government has found the funds required to embark on a slaughter of the innocents.
“We have seen for many years how the state has lined the pockets of the abortion industry which has made millions in recent years from NHS abortions.
“Now they are reaching out across the water to attract more women to bring to their death factories.
“The Government have ridden roughshod over the will of the people of Northern Ireland where the Stormont Assembly has responsibility for the laws on abortion.
“This catastrophic Government decision signs the death warrant of untold numbers of babies who will be transported across the Irish Sea in the wombs of their mothers to face an inevitable death penalty for the crime of being unwanted.
“What now for the UK Government which has lost its credibility not to mention its moral and democratic compass in its blind pursuit of power?
“The decision is also likely to be regarded by many in the Province, where abortion remains illegal, as just the latest example of a misguided and overbearing London metropolitan political elite attempting to force its unrepresentative views on the people of the Province.
“The primary purpose of abortion law in Northern Ireland is not to curtail access to healthcare but to protect the lives of unborn children. Abortion is not healthcare, it is an act of lethal violence against an unborn child and can never be justified. In Belfast the Court of Appeal has recognised that unborn children deserve the protection of the law and that this protection is sufficient reason to restrict access to abortion.
“The decision by the Government to usurp the responsibility of Northern Ireland’s devolved institutions and to cave into demands of the abortion industry, will allow commercial abortion providers in England to market “free” abortions whilst also being paid from public funds for carrying them out. It will undoubtedly increase the number of women travelling for abortions after a steady downward trend for the last 15 years.