About NI Voiceless

NI Voiceless is short for either 'Northern Ireland Voiceless' or 'North of Ireland Voiceless' - whichever you prefer - our focus is on these six counties of Ireland, which have their own local assembly based in Stormont: Antrim, Armagh, Derry/Londonderry, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone.

On this page you can find out about our vision and principles, our aims, who we are, what we do, and the story of how we came to exist.

Why? Our Vision & Principles

 

Our vision is to see a truly life-affirming society in which

every life is valued and no death is chosen.

This vision is underpinned by three principles to which we are committed:

  • Recognising life – the life of a unique human individual begins at conception.

  • Valuing life – every human life has equal value and the right to life is inalienable.

  • Affirming life –  every human life should be protected in law and no human death should be chosen.

What? Our Aims

 

We urge concerned citizens to:

  • STAND for the value of human life and against legalised killing of any human individual from conception;

  • SPEAK the truth about human development, the right of all human individuals to life and the horror of abortion;

  • SERVE women and families in need to help them affirm their own lives and those of their unborn children.

See our suggestions for how you can do each of these things on our Action page.​

Who? Our People

 

NI Voiceless is:

  • a mass movement of ordinary people from all backgrounds who care deeply about the value of human life and the importance for human wellbeing of living in a life-affirming society.  You can join the movement.

  • a large crowd of supporters who gather behind our banner to show their care for the unborn who have no voice and to advocate to the wider society and politicians for their protection.

  • strictly peaceful – we will never promote, support or endorse any form of attack on or abuse of other individuals or organisations and we aim to avoid any unnecessary offence in our events and messages.

 

NI Voiceless is not:

  • religious  – we welcome people of all religious convictions and none and do not advance a religious message because we believe the truth about human life and the wrongs of abortion should be clear to everyone.

  • political  – we are people of all political persuasions and none, but we do ask supporters to vote consistently for pro-life candidates in all elections and we call on pro-life politicians to speak clearly for life.  Our organising group may, on occasions, support calls for specific political actions, but we will never claim that our members or those who join our mass gatherings support specific parties or policies.

  • sectarian – we are pro-life people from every ‘community’ in NI and do not have a view on its constitution.

 

Our work is coordinated by a small team of NI residents led by Mrs Sarah Coffey (formerly Crutchley) and Dr Paul Coulter and shaped by advice from  other pro-life organisations active in NI.

How? Our Activities

 

We do three main things:

  • GATHERINGS – we organise large events in neutral spaces with a simple, dignified message and without additional banners or images so that people of all backgrounds can stand together for life.

  • EDUCATION – in person and in videos we present the truth about human development and the reasons why abortion is never the answer to the needs of women.

We do not:

  • Campaign outside abortion clinics or hospitals where abortions are performed,

  • Campaign outside offices of politicians or political parties.

  • Criticise other pro-life organisations whose strategies differ from ours.

  • Use images of aborted babies or language that is deliberately offensive.

  • Endorse policies or statements that suggest that abortion may be acceptable in limited circumstances, with the possible exception of saving the mothers life in an emergency.

When?  Our Story

 

NI Voiceless was formed in the summer of 2019 after the UK parliament in Westminster voted to decriminalise abortion in NI and leave unborn children with no protection in law.  We were already concerned about this issue and some of us had been involved with existing organisations in various ways, but we felt that it was time to mobilise a mass movement of people.  We were encouraged in this venture by several existing pro-life organisations and religious leaders.  We organised our first event at Stormont for Friday 6th September 2019 and were overwhelmed when an estimated 20,000 people joined us.  Many of those who stood for life that day still tell how moving they found it.

 

Despite this clear statement and evidence that public opinion in NI did not support the proposed change in the law, it came into effect on 22nd October 2019.  We agreed with many others that this date deserves to be called NI’s ‘Darkest Day’.  That’s not to diminish the horror of some of our past days and the atrocities we have suffered, but we need to recognise that there was a profound shift on this date: the right to life of the most vulnerable living human individuals was overridden; the lives of those unborn children were robbed of any value in law; and healthcare was redefined to include killing.  As a result we decided we could not stop standing for life, so we planned our second event for Saturday 30th November 2019.  We were joined again by thousands of people who wanted to affirm the value of life for every human indivdidual.

Our abortion regime was enfoced on NI from Westminister as the following facts indicate:

  • no NI elected politician sitting in Westminster voted for the change in the law;

  • the NI Assembly had voted against legalising abortion in 2016;

  • surveys show that public opinion in NI is opposed to abortion on request;

  • thousands of people gathered to protest the changes in the law;

  • in responses to the UK government's consultation, 79% of respondents opposed changing the law.

Despite all of these factors, the UK government went ahead, in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, and introduced extreme abortion laws. 

 

The details of these laws are available on the UK Government website.  They allow for abortion:

  • Up to 12 weeks of pregnancy (confirmed by one medical professional) on request from the mother without any reason needing to be given [in other words, she can have an abortion simply on the grounds that she does not want the baby or because she does not want a baby of this sex - no one could challenge her about that].

  • Up to 24 weeks of pregnancy if there is judged to be a greater risk to the mother's physical or mental health from continuing the pregnancy than from an abortion.

  • Until full term if:

    • the unborn baby is believed to have a "severe fetal impairment" or "fatal fetal abnormality" [these terms are not defined, leaving 'severe' to include disabilities like Down Syndrome or cleft palate]; or​

    • there is judged to be a risk to the mother's life from continuing the pregnancy that is greater than the risk to her life from abortion; or

    • an abortion is judged necessary to prevent "grave permanent injury" [again this phrase is not defined, leaving it to the judgement of individual medical professionals] to the mother's physical or mental health.

 

In effect, these provisions, which are among the most liberal in the world, mean abortion on request until 12 weeks, while the lack of clarity about what risk to the mother's mental health means could, in theory, open the gates to abortion on request up to full term (if a mother insists that she will end her life if she does not have an abortion and the medical professionals caring for her are pro-abortion, she may be granted an abortion).  Significantly, the change in law also removed the legal protection for the lives of unborn children, so that there would be no grounds to prosecute a woman who obtained an abortion for other reasons than those stated in the legislation.  This law undermines the very foundation of a civilised society by denying the right to life to living human individuals.​

 

These laws took effect on 31 March 2020.  Provision for abortions remained limited in the absence of dedicated 'services' which were not commissioned by the Stormont Executive.  Still, within one year an around 1200 abortions were performed in NI.  In March 2021, the UK government announced its intention once again to disregard devolution, this time by acting to commission so-called 'abortion services' which some estimates say would lead to over 6000 abortions annually in NI.  Our first annual commemoration of the change in the law - held online due to coronavirus restrictions - happened on Saturday 20th March 2021, just prior to the announcement of this move by the Secretary of State for NI.  It was profoundly ironic and desparately sad for us to realise that we had 6000 pins posted on our online map - a similar number to the unborn babies who may be killed each year if the imposition goes ahead.

We don’t know how long NI Voiceless will exist for, but we know as individuals that as long as we live we must stand, speak and serve for a life-affirming society.  It doesn’t matter what banner we do that under or who fronts that up – this isn’t about personalities or a name – but it does matter that the truth is heard.  We won't stop standing, speaking and serving for a life-affirming society.  That's why we have decided to organise a silent gathering at Stormont (or online if that is not possible) each March on a Saturday close to the anniversary of the abortion regime coming in to Northern Ireland.  Find details of our next gathering here.