Members of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council have backed a motion calling for the establishment of “a Perinatal Hospice Care facility or service” in Northern Ireland.
The ‘Both Lives Matter’ motion was debated by elected representatives at their monthly meeting on Tuesday evening, May 22.
The notice of motion, proposed by DUP Cllr Ben Mallon, stated: “That this council believes that in pregnancy both lives matter, the mother and the unborn child.
“This commitment to the rights of both must be reflected in the support provided to mothers, the unborn children and their families throughout their pregnancy.
“This council calls for a Perinatal Hospice Care facility or service in Northern Ireland to be established to provide the best medical and emotional support for those who are faced with the diagnosis of a severe life-limiting condition.”
With a majority of members having backed the motion after some discussion, Cllr Mallon said he was “very happy with the result.”
“There was quite a bit of debate, but I have to say it was a very respectful conversation about a very sensitive issue and I thanked members for being so respectful,” he said.
Perinatal hospice care offers support for parents who continue with a pregnancy following a prenatal diagnosis indicating their baby has a life-limiting condition and could die before or shortly after birth.
Reacting to the passing of the motion, abortion rights campaign group Alliance for Choice commented: “We welcome the call for better established perinatal care for families faced with such tragic diagnosis. We believe that all families deserve to be given the option of perinatal care as part of a range of options, as would be offered to our counterparts in England, Scotland and Wales.
“All support, whether perinatal or termination of pregnancy, should be given in this country so that people aren’t then forced into the indignities that come with having to travel outside your jurisdiction for healthcare.”