Dr Anne McCloskey, Aontú candidate for Ballyarnett has called on Sinn Féin to clarify what they mean by ‘rights for women’ in the context of Mary Lou McDonald’s recent statement on new talks to reestablish the institutions in the north.

Dr McCloskey stated:

“Aontú supports rights for women. Aontú support rights for all human beings. We believe that women, as human beings, should be afforded their human rights.

Our society in many ways continues to fail many women, as it fails many men. Economic and social pressures and a lack of supports place great strain on a large number of women. From areas of childcare and social services to economic protections, there is a wide range of areas where greater protections for women should be secured.

However, it is increasingly clear that the term ‘women’s rights’ is being twisted and used as euphemism for abortion. For the sake of honesty and transparency with citizens and voters, it is important that Sinn Féin clarifies what Mary Lou McDonald meant when she referenced ‘rights for women’ as a goal for Sinn Féin in new talks on reestablishing the Stormont Executive.

Aontú believes in the human right to life. From that right, all other rights are derived. We oppose the ending of the lives of pre-born humans. Not only have Sinn Féin campaigned and voted in favour of abortion-on-demand in the south, Sinn Féin have voted against measures that would have prohibited abortions on the grounds of an unborn child’s gender. In the south, thanks in part to Sinn Féin, there is no legal barrier to preventing the abortion of an unborn girl because her parents want a son.

In line with the other establishment parties, Sinn Féin voted against measures that would have prohibited abortions on the grounds of disability. In line with the other establishment parties, Sinn Féin voted against measures that would have ensured unborn babies destined for abortion would have received pain relief before being aborted. Perhaps most callously of all, Sinn Féin voted against measures that would have obliged doctors and nurses to provide medical care to babies that survive abortion procedures.

Aontú, unlike Sinn Féin, opposes the taking of an innocent pre-born human’s life on all grounds, not least on the basis of that human’s gender or whether that human is disabled. Sinn Féin cannot be genuine in claiming to support rights for women when they will not even support the right of females to be born. Aontú believes that genuine women’s rights are not in competition with the Human Right to Life, but rather that they are complementary to it and derive from it.

It is time that Sinn Féin was honest and consistent with the electorate. Sinn Féin has adopted a publicly partitionist approach to abortion and the Right to Life matter. In the south they shout loudly in support of abortion-on-demand. Meanwhile in the north, depending on their varied target audiences and the political temperature, either they pretend not to have anything to do with it or provide not-so subtle dog whistles to abortion supporters.