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Source: Traditional Unionist Voice – Northern Ireland

Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:-

“I greatly welcome the timely intervention of Dr Cupples and others in the abortion debate.

“These frontline medical staff are absolutely right to question the conscientious objection protections which will exist for them.

“Whereas the 2016 Department of Health guidance on termination of pregnancy will continue in vogue, it is clearly inadequate for a situation where Sections 58 & 59 of the Offences Against The Person Act are repealed, so that abortion is decriminalised.

“In making new regulations the Secretary of State must provide fully for conscientious objection rights. Section 9(9) of the new law restrains the Secretary of State to any provision that could be made by the N.I. Assembly. This, I contend, means there must be protection of conscientious objection, by virtue of Section 6(2)(c) of the N.I. Act 1998, which requires legislation to respect ECHR rights, which in this case are those under Articles 9 & 10. (Art 9 protects freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Art 10 protects freedom of expression.)

“The combination of both these rights must be fully afforded to medical practitioners who interface with abortion. Those who in conscience see abortion as the unwarranted taking of human life (which it is) must be afforded the right to live by their conscience in the workplace. Anything else would be tyrannical and unjust.

“I, therefore, welcome the stand taken by these medics and assure them they have the support of many across the community. Their rights must be neither reduced nor traduced, but upheld.”

MIL OSI United Kingdom