The predominately male Pro Life Group which sits in the North’s Stormont Assembly, were offered “advice and intelligence” on the Family Planning Association, in a meeting in 2012, Vixens has learned.
A member from the Christian Institute, who was present at the meeting, clarified the legal charity status of the Family Planning Association, before making the offer. A discussion ensued, where the then “communications secretary” of the group, Bernie Smyth, who is also a spokesperson from Precious LIfe, offered to “look back through previous court cases”, to clarify another matter on the FPA,
The group at that time was chaired by SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey, and included Jim Allister (TUV), Jim Wells (DUP), Mervyn Storey (DUP), Alban Maginnis (SDLP), Chris Lyttle (All) , as well as respresentatives from SPUC, ACLOI, and LIFE.
Vixens contacted all of the MLA’s who sat on the group at the time, to ascertain their views on reproductive advice / family planning, but at the time of writing, were still awaiting a reply.
The All Party Pro Life Group at Stormont, launched in 2007, are described on the Assembly’s website here. Their purpose is “to uphold the sanctity of life, including the life of the unborn child, and to promote a pro-life perspective in the Northern Ireland Assembly.”
They have been represented at various high profile events, and have also given their views, and lobbied to influence legislature with regards to abortion in Northern Ireland.
In recent years, this influential group has spoke publicly against Marie Stopes, and have been supported by The Association of Catholic Lawyers in Ireland, and have also been publicly represented at anti abortion rallies in Belfast and Dublin.
Speaking in Dublin at the “Rally for Life in 2013”, Bernie Smyth said, “The All Party Pro-Life Group from Stormont is represented here today, since this is a matter for All-Ireland, as we stand together against abortion,”
Previous members of the Pro LIfe Group at Stormont included the DUP’s former MLA Iris Robinson and Ian Paisley, along with Jeffrey Donaldson and Nelson Mc Causland.
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