Today, (Thursday 3 October), the High Court in Belfast handed down its judgment on abortion legislation in Northern Ireland. The case was brought to the Court by Sarah Ewart. Mrs Justice Keegan, followed the ruling of the Supreme Court that the current abortion law in NI is incompatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights in relation to fatal foetal abnormality.
You can read the judgment summary here.
CARE responded to the ruling and this is what our Chief Executive Nola Leach said:
“We recognise the tragic circumstances involved in this case.
“While we respect the judgment of the High Court today it is important to note that today’s ruling relates to a very, very small number of complex cases.
“This judgment in no way justifies the sweeping changes that will be imposed on the people of Northern Ireland if the Assembly is not restored by 21 October.
“Changing the law to accommodate abortions in the cases of life-limiting conditions deemed fatal is one thing and we are ready for a discussion on these very difficult situations.
“But thanks to Westminster’s decision to by-pass devolution, Northern Ireland will have one of the most extreme abortion laws in Europe with nearly all the existing protections for women and babies changed or removed.
“This raises the alarming prospect that from 22 October, abortion will be available up until the point at which the baby is capable of being born alive.
“It will mean abortions permitted if that baby is the ‘wrong sex’, or if the woman is being pressured into an abortion.
“For five months from October 22 to March 31, there will be no abortion specific statutory regulation of abortion clinics, something even England, with its permissive abortion regime, still includes.
“Surely, if we care about the lives of women and babies we will see that what is about to happen will undermine the value of life.
“Today highlights the urgent need for the NI Assembly to be restored as soon as possible.
“That’s where debates around NI’s abortion law should be taking place.”