Both Lives Matter Critical of Abortion Report 

Both Lives Matter | Press | Both Lives Matter Critical of Abortion Report 

The working group report on fatal fetal abnormality has controversially recommended a change to Northern Ireland’s abortion laws.

Dawn McAvoy co-founder of Both Lives Matter commented,

“The working group, and the report it has produced, was deeply flawed from the moment it was named. It looks at ‘fatal fetal abnormality’, a term rejected by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in Northern Ireland (1). It has no legal meaning and it is deeply offensive to the parents whose children have a life limiting condition.”

“The timing of the release is also deeply troubling ahead of the Supreme Court ruling on the issue of abortion and ahead of the referendum in the Republic to remove protection for the unborn.”

“Our starting point is that both lives matter in any and every pregnancy. These cases are incredibly difficult for all involved. Every woman given such a diagnosis deserves the best medical care and support available. Every child, no matter how severe their disability, is of value and worth before and after birth.”

“Law and policy in Northern Ireland should uphold and protect all human life. We accept there are situations where abortion, unfortunately, may be required to save the life of the mother or where there is a real and serious risk to her long term health. Cases involving a diagnosis of a life-limiting condition which may prove fatal, may fall into this category.”

“The report rightly notes that difficulties have arisen in the treatment of pregnant women given these diagnoses. We note and fully support the proposals put forward by the Public Health Agency to establish a regional team to help women and their families who face these situations. This is a positive step which should be implemented as soon as possible.”

“We remain of the view that the case for legislative change has not been made, but have supported discussions for clearer guidelines within the law. We also note that this report was written before the unanimous judgment made by the Court of Appeal which found that Northern Ireland’s law on abortion is fully compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights.”


(1) Dr Carolyn Bailie, the then chair of the Northern Ireland Committee of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, wrote to the All-Party Group on Human Life noting that “We completely agree that the term Fatal Fetal Abnormality is not a medical term” and that the phrase they have used when faced by these cases is the following: “life limiting, to mean where no meaningful intervention following birth can be given other than palliative care.”