In September 1970 my parents were in Scotland on holiday. My mother was three months pregnant with me when she suffered a pelvic bleed and was presumed to be suffering a miscarriage.
The obstetrician was told that there was a history of Spina Bifida in my family and that two of my siblings had already died after birth. The only treatment my mother was offered was an abortion, when my mother refused to undergo a termination she was discharged without further treatment.
My parents returned home to Northern Ireland where they were supported by medical staff both before and after my birth. I am now 47 and although I do have Spina Bifida, I have been to university and have been working full time for twenty-two years.
In 2018 the Westminster Women and Equalities Committee launched an inquiry into Northern Ireland’s abortion law. In April 2019 the report concluding their inquiry was published. It calls for law change to allow abortion in cases of “fatal foetal abnormality”. The main report was not adopted unanimously, and with a vote of four to two, an alternative Hughes Report was also published.
Interestingly, the first item listed in the Committees Terms of Reference, is their desire to hear from the general public, women impacted by the law, and medical and legal professionals in Northern Ireland.
Over 88% of all the submissions they received from the public were against law change. We are highlighting just a few of those submissions, which are publicly available. All of the published submissions can be viewed here.