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ss CMF news - Autumn 2020,  Northern Ireland Abortion Conference

Northern Ireland Abortion Conference

We are living in unprecedented times in Northern Ireland. That is not a reference to the Coronavirus pandemic, but to the abortion law changes which have come into force in Northern Ireland in the last few months. Despite this being a devolved issue, despite a consultation in which 79 per cent of respondents rejected any change in the legislation, despite a further consultation about details of practice under the new law, and despite a reconvened Northern Ireland Assembly voting 46-40 against the new law, it was nevertheless cunningly introduced so that, as things currently stand, it cannot be repealed.

Presently in Northern Ireland, the health secretary has not commissioned abortion services in hospitals due to COVID-19. However, like other parts of the UK, medical abortion at home has become the pattern, with the only difference to England being that the first drug (misoprostol) must still be administered on registered premises.

We at CMF and LCF (Lawyers' Christian Fellowship) Northern Ireland arranged a morning conference in two parts on Zoom in September to look at the implications for us as Christian health professionals.

We looked in detail at the professional, training and legal implications of this legislation for clinicians in Northern Ireland. We also considered the roots of Christian opposition to abortion in scripture and church history, being reminded that size and functional capabilities do not determine our value as human beings made in the image of God. The whole conference was very helpful, and a reminder that we should pray as well as plan our response, because we have a good God who sees all and who loves us greatly.

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