The impartiality of the Citizens’ Assembly which was set up to discuss abortion in Ireland has been dealt a further blow by the news that the Chief Executive Officer of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), Ann Furedi, is so happy that the British Medical Association recently voted to support the decriminalisation of abortion that she can’t stop humming the 1970s disco song “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now”.
Furedi, the author of a book called “The Moral Case for Abortion”, made the comments to an online magazine and despite insisting on Twitter that she was singing about her enthusiasm for “advocacy”, her comments make it very difficult if not impossible to believe that her organisation is anything other than part of a major push for more access to abortion.
LifeNews readers will realise the irony of this position when they recall that the BPAS were recently invited by the organisers of the Citizens’ Assembly to address its 99 members. There, they were presented as an “impartial expert” that could offer the members a summary of how abortion operates in practice in the UK. Of course, as is always the way with abortion advocates, there was no real discussion of what the abortion procedure means to the baby in the womb.
Describing the BPAS as an “impartial expert” made a charade of the Assembly process. It meant ignoring the fact that every time they are asked to comment on any aspect of the abortion debate, they are commenting first and foremost as an organisation that thinks abortion is a reasonable option for women facing unplanned pregnancies.
The BPAS doesn’t afford any rights to babies in the womb. Late-term abortions are facilitated at their clinics. In the recent discussions surrounding sex selective abortions in the UK, the BPAS did not come out strongly against this most discriminatory practice. None of these facts were presented to the 99 members of the Assembly, most of whom would not have been familiar with the organisation.
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As it was, their evidence was presented on face value but their spokesperson was not pressed to talk about the one thing that most definitely takes place in BPAS – the ending of the life of an unborn child. She wasn’t asked about the procedure, just as she wasn’t asked about the recent report by the Care Quality Committee in the UK, which was highly critical of the BPAS and its procedures which resulted in a number of women being transported to hospital after abortions in BPAS clinics.
The Citizens’ Assembly has now made a number of recommendations to the Irish Government which, if implemented, would result in abortion being introduced on wide-ranging grounds in Ireland. These recommendations will be discussed at a Committee which meets in public for the first time in September and will prepare a report for December 2017. Since their recommendations, the BPAS have been even more involved in the abortion debate, with Ann Furedi attending a Conference organised by abortion activists in Ireland. She has also taken to the airwaves in Ireland to talk about how she feels abortion should be considered as a form of birth control.
Furedi’s style is to make controversial comments that have the intention of pushing forward the campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment and introduce abortion in Ireland. She has to know that the vast majority of the Irish public do not want to see Ireland turning into a country like the UK where 1 in every 5 pregnancies ends in abortion. This is some 300% more than the Irish abortion rate and it is a statistic that Furedi rarely, if ever, addresses. It is something that the Irish public needs to keep in mind over the next few months as the pressure on the Eighth Amendment grows from overseas organisations like the BPAS. It’s also a reason why the Government Committee set up to look at this issue must investigate why the BPAS were given an invitation to speak as an “impartial expert” at the Citizens’ Assembly – particularly when families who say the Eighth Amendment saved the lives of their children were completely ignored.