Home Focus V4NA interview: “I am pro-life and unashamedly so”

V4NA interview: “I am pro-life and unashamedly so”

British MP Carla Lockhart (Photo: V4 Agency)

By: V4 Agency

To legitimise abortion on the grounds of disability is sending a message to those in our society who live with disabilities that they are lesser, and that is wrong, British MP Carla Lockhart has told V4NA in a recent interview.

British MP Carla Lockhart was appointed co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group in February. The politician representing the Northern Irish Upper Bann has long been an outspoken pro-life MP. She recently gave an interview to V4NA.

“I am pro-life and unashamedly so. I believe all life is precious, and this is a view largely shaped by my Christian faith. No matter how young or how old, we need to value life and do all we can to protect it. The last twelve months has shown how we have put so much resource into saving lives from COVID-19, and that is right. But at the same time, thousands of lives have been lost in the womb. That is wrong,” Carla Lockhart said.

Carla Lockhart

We also asked the politician about her views on the necessity of stricter abortion rules. Northern Ireland’s new abortion law took effect in 2019, setting out that pregnancy can be terminated up to 28 weeks. Disability-selective abortion, including abortion for Down’s syndrome, were also legalised.

Northern Ireland’s abortion laws have changed since then: there is no time limit for terminations where there is a “substantial risk” a foetus would suffer severe mental or physical impairment. Many, however, are concerned that the law allows abortions without any time restraints for conditions such as Down’s syndrome.

New Zealand went even further. There, abortion can be requested until birth for any reason, for example, if the parents do not like their baby’s gender.

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“In Northern Ireland we now have some of the most relaxed abortion laws of anywhere in Europe,” Ms Lockhart explained, adding that “such a legislative framework is totally inconsistent with society’s views on abortion, so I do think we need to look at abortion laws and make them life-affirming.” At the same time, she noted that “we also need to invest in support for women who find themselves facing crisis pregnancy to support them.”

Mothers deciding to abort their babies once they discover that it has Down’s syndrome is a recurring issue in Britain. In some cases, when the baby in the womb is detected to have Down’s syndrome, it is the doctors themselves who offer the abortion to women, even if they are inclined to keep the baby.

Abortion on the grounds of disability is wrong, Carla Lockhart stressed. She also told V4NA that she has been privileged to become friends with an inspirational lady called Heidi Crowther, who has Dwon’s syndrome and has been a consistent voice against selective, disability-based abortion.

“We as a society should cherish every life, and everyone with a disability. To legitimise abortion on these grounds sends a message to those in our society who live with these disabilities that they are lesser, and that is wrong,” the British MP said.

It is also an alarming phenomenon in the UK that women are all the more frequently forced into abortion, a tendency GPs in the UK have expressed grave concerns about in a survey. The problem, according to Ms Lockhart, is that women often feel that they have no means to provide for their newborns, which eventually leads them to choose abortion. As a solution “we need resources to be directed into supporting women into keeping their little baby,” Carla Lockhart said, adding that “we need to ensure that keeping the baby is supported, and the mothers receive help in doing that”.

Recently, the lawmaker has launched a parliamentary motion for the protection of unborn babies, calling on the government  to require pain relief for all babies undergoing invasive medical procedures in the womb from at least twelve weeks’ gestation, including abortion.

In the UK, abortion is currently legal up to 24 weeks, but recent evidence points towards unborn babies’ capacity to feel pain emerging at around 12 weeks.

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