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Christian charity slams public health bodies for interfering in NI abortion framework

by Tola Mbakwe

A Christian public policy charity has criticised various public health bodies based in Great Britain for intruding on the development of Northern Ireland's new abortion framework. 

Health bodies including Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), the Royal College of Midwives and the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare have responded to plans for laws for local abortion services. 

They all agreed there should be no abortion restrictions up to 24 weeks. They added that it was unhelpful to have a restriction at either 12 weeks or 14 weeks. 

Dr Carolyn Bailie, RCOG chair told BBC News NI that restricting access to abortion care before 24 weeks "only creates barriers for women".

The bodies' have issued a joint recommendation for a legal framework that prioritises "safe and compassionate abortion care" in Northern Ireland. 

The move has been condemned by CARE as "deeply regrettable". 

Chief executive of the charity Nola Leach, said: "The position being taken by these professional health bodies is deeply regrettable. 

"It is striking that GB medical bodies feel the need to interfere, ignoring the views of NI health professionals, many of whom are opposed to the new abortion framework. 

"Abortion is a devolved issue and it is up to locally elected MLAs to decide on the exact nature of what the new abortion framework will look like.

"There are two lives that count in a pregnancy and this recommendation ignores completely the rights of the unborn baby. 

"We call on MLAs to take action to ensure the new framework does not simply copy GB, but instead reflects the views of many within Northern Ireland who want life-affirming laws."

Pro-life charity Both Lives Matter said was "extremely disappointed, but sadly not surprised". 

The health bodies represent a large number of those involved in providing abortion services across the UK. 

Abortion in Northern Ireland was decriminalised in October by the UK Parliament. A public consultation started in November to determine new legal framework on abortion services in Northern Ireland.

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