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"A testament to society's failure": 7681 abortions carried out in North of Ireland since 2020

7,681 abortions have been performed in Northern Ireland since March 2020, new figures from the Department of Health show. The statistic was provided in response to a question to TUV leader Jim Allister, and relate to the period up to 15th February 2024.

It marks a surge in abortion in the province, which saw 65 abortions performed from 2019 to 2020, prior to a change in the law, implemented by the British government when Stormont was devolved. 

It also represents an increase of almost 2,000 abortions since the last available figures were published in November. An FOI request from November 2023 revealed that the abortion rate had almost doubled since the law was changed, with 5,648 abortions performed from March 2020 to May 2023.

Pro-life organisation Precious Life told Gript that the figures were “heartbreaking” and “deeply troubling.”

Director Bernadette Smyth blasted the leadership of the Northern Ireland Assembly, saying its inaction was a “betrayal of the fundamental values of compassion and respect for life.” Since 2020, Stormont has “failed to uphold its duty to protect the most vulnerable,” Ms Smyth said.

“Every unborn child is a living, breathing human being who deserves love and protection, just as much as any other member of our society. Women facing unexpected pregnancies need alternatives now,” Smyth asserts.

“We refuse to accept the false narrative that abortion is the only solution to an unexpected pregnancy. There are compassionate alternatives available, and this government must provide support to protect both mother and child,” the organisation said in a statement.

“The tragic loss of 7,681 innocent babies is a testament to society’s failure to uphold the sanctity of life and protect its most vulnerable citizens.”

Meanwhile, leader of the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV), MLA Jim Allister, who accessed the figures through a written question put to the Department of Health.

“I have previously established that between 2014 and 2019 a total of 65 abortions performed across Northern Ireland,” the barrister and politician said.

“Since the change in Northern Ireland’s abortion laws at the end of March 2020 a total of 7,681 abortions have been performed in Northern Ireland. The figure, obtained from the Department of Health in response to my written question, relate to the period up to 15th February 2024,” Mr Allister said.

The MLA criticised parties in government, saying the TUV had “warned against” the law coming into force.

“It is important to remember that those who went back into government with Sinn Fein after the Executive Formation Act 2019 did so on the basis of a law which introduced one of the most liberal abortion regimes in Europe. TUV warned against such a course of action,” he said.

“On the only occasion when the public were given the opportunity to express an opinion on abortion a massive 79% of the 21,200 responses to the consultation recorded their opposition to the abortion regulations. In spite of what some in the media may try to claim, there is still considerable opposition to abortion in Northern Ireland and there will be many who will share my alarm at the growth in the number of abortions in our Province.”


Maria Maynes



This article first appeared on gript and is printed here with permission


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