An Irish Catholic bishop and pro-life group SPUC are calling on members of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Stormont Executive to resist Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris’s new regulations ordering all post-primary schools in the Province to instruct their pupils on how to access abortion.
Commenting on the Relationships and Sexuality Education (Northern Ireland) (Amendment) Regulations 2023, laid before the Westminster Parliament on Tuesday 6th June, a spokesman for SPUC said the legislation “is not aimed at education but indoctrination”.
The Government has introduced legislation to ensure that school pupils in Northern Ireland are given information about contraception and abortion.
Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris said he was updating the requirements for relationship and sexuality education (RSE) in the curriculum, but Bishop of Derry Donal McKeown rejected this.
“I am really concerned this seems to be a decision by the secretary of state that will impose a particular way of approaching the issue on all schools… a new ideology that says: ‘This is the right way to do it,’” he said.
“I don’t think you need to impose a duty on schools, that come from a range of different backgrounds, an obligation to provide information as if abortion and that whole area is somehow or other a value-free thing.”
Liam Gibson, SPUC’s Legal and Policy Officer, based in Belfast, urged head teachers, school governors and the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools to refuse to implement the regulations.
“These regulations will turn our schools into the sales division of the British abortion industry. In practice, teaching children how to access abortion means schools will hand girls over to abortion providers without even informing their parents”, said Mr Gibson.
“Human life begins at conception, that is a biological fact. And a large proportion of the people of Northern Ireland recognise that abortion is not healthcare, but a lethal act of violence directed at an unborn child. Yet, teaching children that the child in the womb is a human being and therefore has the right to life will now be forbidden. This makes a mockery of the right of parents to raise their children according to their moral and religious beliefs without the interference of the state. It’s not education, it’s indoctrination.”
“Chris Heaton-Harris claims that he has a legal obligation under the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation, etc) Act to impose the agenda of the United Nations on schools here. But the London Government has the power to remove that obligation any time it wants to,” Mr Gibson continued.
“This change to the law will result in the deaths of thousands of unborn babies and leave countless girls emotionally scarred. Politicians, parents and school governors — especially of those schools that espouse a religious ethos opposed to abortion — must resist this. A steadfast refusal to accept this blatant attempt at social engineering will force the London Government to back down.”
Chris Heaton-Harris picture: Liam McBurney/PA Wire Copyright notice:© 2023 PA Media, All Rights Reserved