Thousands attend pro-life rally

Published Sunday, 06 July 2014
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Thousands have attended a pro-life rally through Belfast city centre on Saturday.

Thousands attend pro-life rally
Crowds make their way through Belfast during Saturday's Rally for Life. (© Presseye)

People of all ages travelled to the city for the All-Ireland Rally for Life which began at Custom House Square in the afternoon.

The crowds made their way around Belfast to the city hall and back to the square for speeches.

Protection of unborn children with severe disabilities was the theme for this year's demonstration.

Abortion is currently outlawed in the region - except when the life of the mother is at risk.

In December, Justice Minister David Ford announced plans to launch a consultation on changing Northern Ireland's abortion laws in cases involving terminal foetal abnormality.

At the time, the Alliance leader stressed he was not proposing "a fundamental change" or the introduction of the 1967 Abortion Act, which does not apply in Northern Ireland.

Bernadette Smyth, of Precious Life, said that this proposal would have "devastating effects on mothers and their babies throughout the whole of Ireland" and said that the attempt to target children with special needs was "abhorrant and unacceptable".

The pro-life rally heard from parents whose children had life-limiting disorders, who believe that better support for families, not abortion, is the answer when children are diagnosed with severe disabilities in the womb.

Three mothers whose children had been diagnosed with terminal conditions told the crowds of their individual experiences, and of the need to raise awareness about conditions such as Trisomy 13 and 18 and anencephaly.

They want better provision of perinatal hospice care throughout Ireland.

Gemma Bradley, a campaigner for Trisomy Awareness, said that many parents have been told that these conditions are "incompatible with life".

She said that her baby, Lily Rose, was "compatible with love, joy and cherished memories".

Gemma said: "She was alive, I felt her move, and babies with Trisomy have lived for hours, days and weeks after birth. The length of that life does not make it less of a life."

Former MEP Dana Rosemary Scallon attended the rally, saying that it was "a great turnout, it's a celebration of life and we want to protect life at all its stages."

Meanwhile, a pro-choice demonstration was held in front of Belfast City Hall.

© UTV News
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37 Comments
Ryan in An Dun wrote (104 days ago):
@pro choice in Belfast. So you think it's right to take a life of an unborn child? I am a catholic and to take ANY life is wrong. It is also against the law. Once you take a life, it's gone. You can't bring it back. Rather than take the life of an unborn there should be measures put in place to help the mother. I think your views are sickening. I have had family members that have lost children and the devastation that brings is enormous. Your pro choice view will open the flood gates, abortion on demand and Marie stopes in ever major city. Do you believe in aborting unborn child that might have a disability? What about euthanasia? You are wanting to act as God. I am sickened to see that stance of the political parties here all jumping to amend the abortion act in the north.
Patricia in Newry wrote (107 days ago):
I REFER TO RIGHT TO LIFE WHICH IS THE MOST HUMAN RIGHTS OF ALL, where all Rights comes from. NO ONE HAS ANY RIGHT TO TAKE LIFE OF AN INNOCENCE UNBORN BABY, BECAUSE THERE ARE TWO HUMAN BEINGS,THE CHILD IS A SEPARATE IDENTY,EQUAL TO THE LIFE OF THEIR MOTHER. one hears a lot of ignorant people on this important matter. This is my body, there is also a human being body too the unborn baby. The word used some times foetus means in Latin little one of the human family.
Wolfe Hound in Belfast wrote (107 days ago):
If you view abortion as murder that is your CHOICE. If a fetous is not viable and the mother wishes not to have to endure the birth, that is her CHOICE. If you say you must have the baby then you are forcing your views on others you are then a Fascist dictator. You cannot imposed your beliefs on another person. I would support any of my daughters if that is THEIR CHOICE. You cannot tell me not to go through a medical operation(I am a male) you would be denying me my Human Rights. So whats the difference for a woman, Catch yourself on little Hitlers!!!
Lorna in Belfast wrote (108 days ago):
abortion may be a nasty thing to do as an act but no matter how bad it can be described by any man or woman, within the law there should be first the availabilty of the right to access abortion, and secondly the availability of the procedure that is regulated within the law! i am a woman with 3 children and have never had an abortion and I think strongly about what I have stated above! some men and women need to look at themselves and their crazed ideas, trying to put themselves above others because they think abortion is wrong.
Pro choice in Belfast wrote (108 days ago):
Ryan im sickened by your arrogance. You have no right to enforce your opinions on anyone else. Shame on you ryan for assuming that your opinion is the only one that counts, for being so narrow minded to think that women have no say in what happens to their own bodies under any circumstance. Pauline? Are you for real? You think that any woman, couple or family would base such a decision on the opening hours of a clinic? This just goes to show how ignorant you are on this topic.
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