Press Release: Ford Bill Uses Offensive and Non-medical Term

Both Lives Matter | Press | Press Release: Ford Bill Uses Offensive and Non-medical Term

David Ford has today launched a private members bill using the term ‘fatal foetal abnormality’ against the advice of medical experts who say it is not a medical term.

Dawn McAvoy of Both Lives Matter commented,

“It is extremely disappointing that David Ford continues to use a term with no medical meaning and that many find deeply offensive. It is also misleading as many understand the term to mean that the baby is dead, whereas in fact we are talking about ending a life based on a life limiting disability.”

“The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have made it clear ‘that fatal foetal abnormality is not a medical term’ (1). David Ford seems to have disregarded this advice in bringing forward his bill. Lobby group Amnesty say they are supporting Mr Ford with his bill, while calling for complete decriminalisation which could allow abortion for any reason up to birth. What is the real agenda here?”

“If abortion is allowed solely because of a perceived defect with the unborn child, the fundamental link in law between the mother and child will have been broken. Abortion becomes a choice item rather than a medical necessity. We are firmly opposed to this bill because both lives matter. It is time to rehumanise the conversation, rather than dehumanise the most vulnerable in our society. We need a compassionate response to women and families who are facing this sad situation, providing the best palliative care.”

“These issues have been consulted on and debated when David Ford tried to push through changes as Justice Minister. It is unfortunate the result of that democratic process is not being respected.”



(1) Written correspondence dated 11/11/16 with the All Party Group on Human Life from Dr Carolyn Bailie, Chair NICRCOG. Available on request.

Both Lives Matter is collaborative movement of individuals & organisations seeking to re-frame the abortion debate in Northern Ireland and beyond; to advocate for better care in pregnancy crisis; to create a life-affirming culture that values each woman and her unborn child; and to safe-guard the current law which protects both women and unborn children.