Voters are being warned that the threat to Northern Ireland’s strict abortion laws has never been greater as they prepare to go to the polls this Thursday.
And they are being urged to think carefully before they cast their ballots.
The message has been hammered home at a series of events organised by the Society for the Protection Of Unborn Children, the world’s longest established pro-life group.
Following meetings in key strategic constituencies for the pro-life battle, Liam Gibson SPUC’s development officer in Northern Ireland said: “The right to life of the child in the womb is an issue that should rise above other concerns in politics. Abortion is an act of lethal violence that can never be justified. Any candidate who supports abortion even in so-called hard cases should be considered disqualified by the electorate.”
That view was echoed by the former Stormont Social Development minister Lord Maurice Morrow who met with SPUC officials when they visited Dungannon.
He said the forthcoming election was nothing less than than a “life or death matter for the country’s unborn children”.
The Dungannon event was one of several SPUC have held with voters and candidates during the campaign as part of efforts to boost pro-life representation in the next Assembly.
SPUC has also been involved in an extensive leaflet campaign urging voters to make abortion a disqualifying issue when deciding whom they should vote for.
The meeting in Dungannon came just days after Lord Morrow, an outspoken critic of attempts to remove legal protections for Northern Ireland’s unborn children, said: “This election provides an opportunity for people to vote for candidates that will protect the rights of the unborn child.
“Candidates should be challenged on the doorstep on where they stand on moral and ethical issues. Electors should not be deceived by Sinn Fein’s coded messages of seeking equality and equal rights for people whilst they secretly drive forward their liberal social policies and endanger the lives of future unborn children.
“This election is truly a ‘matter of life’ or death for those with no voice.”
SPUC has identified a number of key battleground constituencies including Fermanagh and South Tyrone, and South Antrim where pro-life supporters are being urged to vote tactically.
At a meeting in Ballyearl in South Antrim, where the former Alliance leader David Ford is a candidate, Mr Gibson said that people needed to know that a vote for Mr Ford would be seen as a vote for abortion.
“David Ford has pledged to re-submit his Private Member’s Bill to legalise abortion in cases of so-called ‘fatal foetal abnormality’ as soon as he returns to Stormont. He is 100 percent committed to introducing some of the worst aspects of the 1967 Abortion Act which targets the most vulnerable members of society, seriously ill and disabled babies, and permits them to be aborted up to birth.’’
Mr Gibson said: “On 2nd March we are urging people to vote only for pro-life candidates. Even a second, third or fourth preference vote can help the pro-abortionists.
“For unborn babies, Polling Day really is a matter of life or death.”
Mr Gibson said the threat to change the abortion law had never been greater and urged the pro-life majority in Northern Ireland to send an unmistakable message to the next Executive instructing it to protect all children equally regardless of their disabilities or the circumstances of their conception.
He said: “Politicians in Sinn Fein and the Alliance Party are already pushing for the legalisation of abortion for children with severe disabilities. It is appalling the these same politicians who are claim to be the most concerned with equality are planning to legalise a lethal form of discrimination against disabled babies. All children deserve equal protection under the law. This is a matter of fundamental human rights and the people of Northern Ireland have an opportunity to use their vote to protect the most vulnerable members of our society.”
Picture: A voter placing a ballot paper in the ballot box at a polling station. (Rui Vieira PA Wire/PA Images).