Christian Action Research Education has called for an abortion law rethink in Great Britain following a decision by the Advertising Standards Authority that it was reasonable for the Both Lives Matter Campaign to claim that around 100,000 people are alive in Northern Ireland who would be dead if the 1967 Abortion Act had applied to the Province.

The advert, from Both Lives Matter (BLM), which appeared earlier this year read 100,000 PEOPLE ARE ALIVE TODAY BECAUSE OF OUR LAWS ON ABORTION. Why change that? It sparked more than a dozen complaints to the advertising watchdog, but in a landmark ruling they dismissed the complaint.

Nola Leach, Chief Executive of CARE, responded to the ASA decision:

‘Today’s ruling presents those of us who live in Great Britain with a very awkward question.

If 100,000 people are alive in Northern Ireland today who would not be if the 1967 Act had applied in the province, what would the figures look like across England, Scotland and Wales?’

‘In a few months it is the fiftieth anniversary of the passing of the Abortion Act in 1967: today’s news from Northern Ireland requires us all to stop and think on the effect this Act has had on our society.’

‘Some people have tried to suggest that Northern Ireland’s Abortion law is reactionary and too strict. These figures demonstrate quite the reverse. The Northern Ireland law should be celebrated and upheld as a model of international best practice. It has saved lives.’

Nola Leach continued: ‘There are nearly 200,000 abortions in the UK every year, or 17.2 per 1000 women. This figure is amongst the highest in Western Europe, which has an average of around 6.5 per 1000.’

‘Abortion law in Great Britain is failing both women and the unborn child. For instance, the failure to offer counselling to those who might need it, the sending of mixed messages on whether abortion on the grounds of gender is illegal and keeping the 24 week abortion limit even though there have been improvements in technology and babies born at less than 24 weeks are surviving. Our abortion laws need a massive rethink.’

Nola Leach concluded: ‘As we approach the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Abortion Act it must be right to look at how we can reduce the level of abortion, ensure that girls are not being aborted because they are girls, provide meaningful counselling both before and after and ensure current safeguards are strengthened to protect both mothers and babies.’