Tuesday 13 March 2012

SPUC was "the cavalry riding over the hill" says veteran Northern Ireland political leader

On Saturday last, SPUC held a well-attended conference Defending the Rights of Parents, Protecting Children at Belfast Castle in Northern Ireland. (Pictured in front of Belfast Castle is Ryan Doherty, the son of Aaron Doherty, a member of SPUC Northern Ireland's executive committee.)

The purpose of the conference was to make the case for strengthening parents' legal rights in the matter of providing birth control drugs and devices to children under the age of consent. Professor David Paton of Nottingham University Business School spoke on this theme. I will be reporting on his talk on another occasion.

SPUC's Belfast Castle event was supported by three leading Northern Ireland politicians:
  • Nelson McCausland, the minister for social development in the Northern Ireland government (Democratic Unionist Party representative for North Belfast in the Northern Ireland Assembly);
  • Pat Ramsey, chairman of the all-party pro-life group in Stormont (Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) Memberf or Foyle in the Northern Ireland Assembly);
  • and Jim Wells, deputy chairman of the Stormont health committee and expected to become the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in mid-2013 (Democratic Unionist Member for for South Down in the Northern Ireland Assembly).
Jim Wells (right), who's the Father of the Northern Ireland Assembly as its longest-serving member, told the conference:
"If the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) had done nothing else in its 45-year history than defeat Northern Ireland's health department abortion guidance in the high court, that achievement alone would have justified its existence.

"I admire the courage SPUC had in defending in the high court Northern Ireland's legal prohibition of abortion. The action could have destroyed SPUC financially. However, if SPUC had not taken the case, our meeting today would be occurring in a very different atmosphere and environment."
Jim Wells said that SPUC was the "cavalry riding over the hill" safeguarding Northern Ireland from the Department of Health's attempt to widen the practice of abortion.

Pat Ramsey (right) also praised the work of SPUC in Northern Ireland and the work of other pro-life groups. He said:
"We believe that the right to life is the most basic principle of all and that includes the right to life of the unborn child. Every life should be protected from conception. Northern Ireland politicians not only reject the liberalization of Northern Ireland's laws against abortion, we oppose any kind of weakening of our laws. This is a matter of the first importance for our constituents."
Jim Wells, commenting on the words of his party political rival, said:
"We work very well together on this issue. We come from different places theologically. However, we come together on the fact that it's absolutely immoral to destroy the life of the unborn child".
Jim Wells added that legal protection for the unborn child should be strengthened rather than weakened.
"I'd be very worried if babies were being killed in Northern Ireland because they had Down's syndrome", he said. He told the conference that one of his three children was born with a significant physical handicap - and her life now is "bursting with opportunities".
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
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