Iain Dale Takes On DUP Minister Over "Obscene" Northern Ireland's Anti-Abortion Laws

21 October 2019, 21:00 | Updated: 22 October 2019, 12:58

"No, what's obscene is that your policy of preventing abortion in Northern Ireland means that women have to put themselves in danger... to have an abortion," Iain said, taking on DUP MP over anti-abortion laws.

Iain asked why the DUP are opposed to something of which the people of Northern Ireland are clearly in favour.

Jim Wells said that according to opinion polls, 57% of Northern Ireland "didn't want a change in the abortion laws" so said the DUP are "very much in line with public opinion.

"But even if we're not, we do know the legislation that we have in Northern Ireland have saved 100,000 lives since 1967."

"That's women who, because of the law that we have, have turned back from abortion and had their child. That means that one in 18 people in Ireland wouldn't be here if we have abortion on demand like we have in England, Scotland and Wales."

He concluded by saying, "It's morally wrong to kill unborn babies."

Iain pointed out that the DUP makes "great play of the fact that it has to be treated in exactly the same way as the rest of the United Kingdom, quite understandably. Yet on same-sex marriage, on abortion, you want Ireland to retain completely different laws. That's hypocritical, isn't it?"

Wells said that wasn't true and Iain wasn't being impartial. He continued that every country in the United Kingdom has different rules, regulations and laws, reflecting the social traditions of those areas.

Pro-Choice activists outside Stormont Parliament in Belfast today
Pro-Choice activists outside Stormont Parliament in Belfast today. Picture: PA

"We don't have uniformity on social policy but obviously Brexit affects the entire country."

Iain said: "Sorry, women's rights affect all the women of the United Kingdom."

"This is not women's rights," said Wells, to which Iain said abortion laws are women's rights.

Wells accused Iain of showing his bias and Iain said he is allowed to be opinionated.

Iain continued: "I'm a pragmatic because I realise that if you try and outlaw abortion and it's going to happen whether you like it or not, and women's lives will be lost in that situation."

"The human rights that everybody ignores in all of this is the rights of the unborn human being and they are the most vulnerable of humans," said Wells, "the average person having an abortion in England is 32, in a stable relationship and has two children already.

"These are not crisis pregnancies, these are inconvenient pregnancies. We in Northern Ireland have stood by the rights of the unborn child for 52 years and saved the lives of 100,000 human beings who are now making a positive contribution to society.

Jim Wells called abortion in England "on demand" to which Iain objected.

He continued that abortion in England, Scotland and Wales had led to the death of 9.1 million human beings which he called "obscene".

Iain said: "No, what's obscene is that your policy of preventing abortion in Northern Ireland means that women have to put themselves in danger, or they have to come over to the mainland, to have an abortion. That is obscene."

Jim Wells repeated that many women have pulled back from abortion because of these laws and Iain said: "That's not a winning argument."

"One day you'll come into the 21st Century, won't you?" asked Iain.

Jim Wells replied the 21st Century he'd stay in is one which protects unborn children.