Local MLA delivers emotional appeal on abortion legislation

Trevor Lunn, MLA.
Trevor Lunn, MLA.

Lagan Valley MLA Trevor Lunn spoke from the heart during a recent Stormont debate on abortion legislation.

Mr Lunn and Alliance Party colleague Stewart Dickson submitted an amendment to the Justice Bill, seeking reform of the law around cases of fatal foetal abnormalities.

The amendment, defeated in the Assembly, proposed an update to the law which would allow women carrying a foetus with a fatal abnormality to access a termination legally in Northern Ireland.

It came in the wake of the Justice Minister’s unsuccessful attempts to get the Executive to agree such legislation.

During the debate Mr Lunn revealed it was an issue close to his heart.

“I will say the following with some trepidation,” he said.

“ Some of us have had some experience of it.

“About 30 years ago, we should have had our third child.

“About 29 years ago, we should have had our fourth child.

“The reason why we did not have our third child — and I have two lovely daughters — was because there were serious problems during the pregnancy.

“We were advised that the baby probably would not go full term, and it did not.

“The second time, a year later, things seemed to be OK, and then we suddenly hit the same problems.

“Bear in mind how long ago this was.

“The doctors advised us that the baby was not likely to survive.

“In those days, you did not have the benefit of an amendment like ours, and you did not have the level of pastoral care, advice and support that you have now.

“We were advised that we would have to make a decision about that pregnancy.

“ Our decision was to obtain a termination.

“In the period before we were able to organise that termination, I would like to think that either the good Lord or Mother Nature intervened, because the baby came away of its own accord.

“I do not like talking about this, because I get emotional, but, believe me, the pain of that decision lives with us to this day.

“I do not mention this so as to get sympathy but rather to point out that, as a man, it gives you an insight that you would not otherwise have.

“This amendment is important.

“It is important to Northern Ireland.

“It is important to women in Northern Ireland, and to men, and it is important for the self-respect of this little country.”

Mr Lunn and Mr Dickson’s amendment was defeated by 59 votes to 40.