The discussion on abortion on Last week’s BBC NI top table show with Stephen Nolan was noteworthy for a number of reasons (https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09yn0n9/the-top-table-series-2-episode-3). While passionate exchanges are to be expected on such an emotive issue as abortion the pro -choice contributors displayed a staggering lack of knowledge as regards the gestational development of unborn babies and a blatant disregard for facts. One young man on the panel aggressively asserted that the unborn are not human and are completely incapable of experiencing any pain or suffering while in the womb throughout all nine months of pregnancy. This is spectacularly untrue. A cursory glance at a basic biology book on foetal development highlights the fact that brain waves are detectable between weeks 5 and 6. By week 8 every organ is in place. By 11 weeks brain, lungs, liver, and kidney are fully formed. Indeed there has for a number of years been discussion in medical circles regarding the appropriateness of providing analgesia for unborn babies at around 24 weeks during the abortion procedure. This is now discouraged due to perceived risks to maternal healthcare that such analgesia could affect. The fact however that there is an acknowledgement of pain inflicted on an unborn baby during an abortion procedure by medical professionals is surely both revealing and highly disturbing.
As stated on the show, it is one thing to deny that unborn babies have no human rights but based on impressive modern ultrasound technology which effectively gives us a window to the womb, to assert that pre-born babies are not in any way human is plainly absurd.
Another established fact that was readily dismissed by the pro-choice commentators on the programme was the lifesaving impact that our abortion law here in N.I has had. As the Both Lives Matter research has revealed, at least 100,000 people are alive today because of our restrictive abortion laws. This statistic was famously upheld by the Advertising Standards agency as a realistic estimate following complaints by the pro-choice lobby. According to the Amnesty representative however this is simply a myth.
While passionate exchanges and differences of opinion are to be expected on such an emotive topic as abortion there is surely no excuse for denying facts.