Celebrating the 100,000

Both Lives Matter | Press | Celebrating the 100,000

100,000 people are alive today because Northern Ireland did not bring in the 1967 Abortion Act

Wednesday will see the launch of a report by Both Lives Matter which estimates that 100,000 people are alive in Northern Ireland today because the Abortion Act 1967 was not implemented here.

Leading economist Dr Esmond Birnie has commented,
“There is obviously no absolute certainty about what ‘an alternative Northern Ireland’ would have looked like if the 1967 abortion legislation had been applied here as in GB. However, what Both Lives Matter have done, as the basis for their report, is to make plausible and cautious estimates as to what might have happened…The estimates suggest that 100,000 people – men, women and children – are alive in Northern Ireland today.”

Baroness Nuala O’Loan has commented,
“There is an urgent requirement at a time when heart rending cases are being extensively utilised by those seeking to diminish legal protection for the unborn, to be more focused on recognising and providing for the needs and care of both mother and child. Both Lives Matter is an excellent response to that pressing need.”

Dawn McAvoy of Both Lives Matter commented,
“The debate around abortion is in danger of becoming polarised by those only concerned with the unborn child on the one hand and those solely concerned with the rights of the women on the other. The reality is that both lives matter.”

“There are people alive in Northern Ireland today who would not have been born if the 1967 Abortion Act had been introduced here. People we all know and love – spouses, children, friends and family. We have always known this to be the case, the question was how many.”

“Using a statistically cautious approach, we estimate that there are 100,000 people alive today, who would not be, had we introduced the 1967 Abortion Act. This is an amazing good news story.”

“The contrast with England and Wales is stark. There one in three women by the age of 45, will have had an abortion and for every four children born alive, one has been aborted. The act allows abortion up to birth for disability and when Downs’ Syndrome is diagnosed in utero, nine out of ten babies are aborted. This isn’t the best care for women and children.”

“Whatever your view on abortion, there are 100,000 reasons to pause and ask some big questions about where our culture is going. Far from being the cause of embarrassment as some would suggest, we believe that the Northern Ireland abortion law is progressive, compassionate and humane — something to celebrate. It’s clear that law has shaped culture here and this careful balancing of both lives should be used as the model for other places.”

The report looks at the rates of abortion in GB and used Scotland as its comparator because it has the lowest rate of abortions and is culturally more like Northern Ireland. Based on this there would have been an estimated 163,760 abortions in NI. The report then estimates the number of abortions carried out for Northern Irish women in England and Wales based on UK Department of Health data which are cited in academic literature by pro-choice advocates. The difference between these figures is the number of people alive today because the 1967 Act was not enacted in Northern Ireland. (1)

Both Lives Matter is a new collaborative movement of individuals and organisations seeking to reframe the abortion debate in Northern Ireland, advocating for better care in pregnancy crisis, and creating a culture that values each woman and her unborn child.


(1) – Applying the England and Wales abortion rate to Northern Ireland, it is estimated there would have been 220,701 abortions here, had the 1967 Abortion Act come into effect in Northern Ireland.
– Applying a 25.8% reduction, in line with the Scottish abortion rate, it is estimated there would have been 163,760 abortions here. The lower Scottish rate is a better comparator
– Based on UK Department of Health data, it is estimated that 61,311 women travelled to England to have an abortion. This figure is cited by Rebecca Gomperts, a pro-choice activist
who helps promote abortion pills online, in a report which she co-authored and published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG) in 2016.
– Adding figures for 2016 and adjusting for survivability rates the final estimate is 101,722.

The launch of Both Lives Matter will take place on Wednesday 18th January at 12.30pm at the MAC, Belfast. Press and media are welcome to attend.

A copy of the report is available for preview, a photograph of Dawn McAvoy and a PDF of the Both Lives Matter logo are available upon request.

For further information or comment please contact:
Dawn McAvoy: Both Lives Matter – 07976 414817
Marion Woods: Both Lives Matter and LIFE NI – 07809 885390