A Belfast born doctor, in general practice in County Armagh is conducting a campaign in Northern Ireland (NI) to have the British Ministry of Health revoke its recent approval of the French-produced abortifacients, RU-486.
Doctor Mary Allen says her campaign has the support of leading members of the NI medical profession.
According to the Ministry of Health, the drug is to be made available to clinics in Britain, but Dr. Allen is convinced that this will open the way for a widespread black market trade in RU-486, not only in Britain but also in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland.
She fears that black market abortion kits could be on sale in Ireland by the end of this year. Dr. Allen and her colleagues hope to extend their protest to Britain and they warn that despite assurances to the contrary, the drug has serious and far-reaching side effects.
BROOK ADVISORY CLINIC
Also in Northern Ireland, the local Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) is resisting plans to open a Brook Advisory Clinic franchise in the provincial capital, Belfast. The Brook chain, which has several clinics in Britain, has appointed a Northern Ireland administrator who is at present trying to find suitable premises in Belfast.
SPUC warns that the Brook Clinic, which provides contraceptive information to teenagers, would lead to an increase in teen pregnancies and abortions. SPUC’s secretary for Northern Ireland, Kathleen McQuaid, says the clinic would lead to an erosion of Christian moral values and contribute to the moral corruption of the young.
She said she is very concerned that the Brook Clinics counsel young people without the knowledge or consent of their parents, and, calling on parents to oppose the clinics, she says “You have nothing to lose but your children.”
IRISH CONSTITUTION SUPPORTED
The Dublin Students’ Union case against the constitutional ban on information about abortion facilities ha suffered a major setback.
The European Courts’ Advocate General, Walter Van Gervan, in a preliminary opinion handed down in June, said that the Students’ Union, in providing information about abortion facilities, was helping women have abortions and this was not compatible with the pro-life clause in the Irish Constitution.
This opinion in itself is not binding, but the court of the country involved in a suit usually usually accepts the Advocate General’s opinion and rules accordingly.
Lawyers involved believe the Court, when it hears the case in the fall, will rule in favour of the Irish Constitution.
PRO-LIFE TRUST FACES $350,000 LEGAL BILL
The Pro-Life Trust which is financing the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) case against the Students’ Union expects to be faced with a legal bill of over $350,000 (Cdn.) by the time the case is over.
Although this is a case brought in to defend the Constitution, and to uphold the law, it has been initiated and fought by SPUC because the State was unwilling to act.
Although SPUC is acting in defence of the Constitution, which ought to be the duty of the State, the students, who are defying the Constitution, are receiving free legal aid for the European court hearing.
The Student Union, however, is liable for its share of the court costs.
Senator Deo Hanalin, who is in charge of fund-raising for Pro-Life Trust, said the Trust will be sending out appeal letters to supporters. The Trust also plans to hold a national collection at all church gates.
Church-gate collections are very commonly used as a fundraising device by all kinds of organizations, including political parties, in Ireland. In recent years, to avoid conflict between organizations, a police permit system has been introduced.
INCREASED ABORTION RATE
Figures released by Britain’s Office of Public Census and Surveys indicate there has been an increase in the number of Irish women traveling to Britain for abortions. The figure for 1990 was 4063, an increase of 344 over 1989.
The report shows that there has been a rise of 13 per cent in the number of teenagers having abortions, but the largest number is n the 20-34 age group.
The release of these figures has been seized upon by the pro-condom lobby as an indication that there is an urgent need to make condoms more easily available to teenagers, but when the abortion rate for Irish women is compared with the figures for England and Wales, where condoms and other contraceptives are freely available, their case collapses.