Thousands of people are expected to attend this year’s Rally for Life in Belfast, which takes place this Saturday, July 2. Centred on the city’s Custom House Square, the event kicks off at 2pm and will be addressed by, among others, Meabh McArdle, whose daughter Fionnuala was born last year despite being given a 1% chance of survival by doctors.
Meanwhile, the Pro-Life Campaign (PLC) is demanding an apology from Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit TD Ruth Coppinger after she challenged the veracity of a case of botched abortion on national television and accused the PLC of “milking” the case for publicity.
During an appearance on Tonight With Vincent Browne opposite the PLC’s Cora Sherlock, Deputy Coppinger suggested the featured case of a woman who survived an abortion may have been “manufactured” despite the PLC pointing out that the incident is one well documented through medical records.
Responding to Deputy Coppinger’s dismissal of the case, Lorraine McMahon of the PLC said: “Ruth Coppinger wouldn’t tolerate similar comments being made about families telling their stories from a pro-choice perspective and rightly so.
“It is unacceptable for her to rubbish personal stories that don’t suit her agenda. She can’t have it both ways and the decent thing for her to do now is to apologise for her grossly insensitive and uncaring comments.”
The accusations against the PLC came just days after Junior Minister John Halligan was criticised for “cheap shots, smears and sympathy-seeking” in targeting the whole pro-life movement in relation to threats he claims to have received over his support for abortion.
Reacting to the minister’s labelling of the “pro-life mob” as he spoke of the incident on RTÉ Radio, Senator Rónán Mullen said “it was wrong of him to attempt to smear the entire pro-life movement by making these unverifiable claims, and the way he did it reveals a desire to smear pro-life people as a whole”.