Anti-abortion activists in the west of Northern Ireland have printed up to 30,000 leaflets urging voters to make abortion the key election issue and have distributed them at churches across Dungannon and south Tyrone.
With abortion an increasingly significant political issue – and one which is certain to be raised again in the next Stormont mandate – both sides of the debate are putting pressure on candidates.
Liam Gibson from the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC) said: “We have issued a flyer for these elections outlining the positions of all the major parties,” , adding that they had printed between 20-30,000 leaflets.
He stressed that SPUC is non-denominational and that “the aim of the flyer is not to ask the reader to vote for specific candidates but to consider that support for abortion should disqualify someone from receiving a vote regardless of their position on economic or constitutional matters”.
Last year a pro-life group claimed that it had cost Michelle Gildernew her Westminster seat, when she lost out to Tom Elliott.
Although Sinn Fein has repeatedly said that it is “pro-life” but supports some relaxation of the law.The leaflet says: “Sinn Féin consistently promotes a radical pro-abortion agenda”.
The leaflet also criticises Alliance, saying that although the party takes no stance on abortion “its politicians are amongst the leading advocates of liberal abortion here” and describes the Green Party as “radically pro-abortion”.
It urges voters to phone the UUP to find out their candidates’ positions but gives a ‘green light’ to the stances of the DUP, SDLP and TUV.