Judge or­ders NI to re­lax ban on abor­tions

Daily Mail - - Front Page -

THE ban on abor­tion in North­ern Ire­land could be eased af­ter a judge yes­ter­day ruled that it breached hu­man rights laws.

Women should have le­gal ter­mi­na­tions if their un­born child was un­likely to sur­vive or if they were preg­nant fol­low­ing a rape or in­cest, said Mr Jus­tice Mark Horner.

He said the cur­rent guide­lines that of­fered abor­tions only to women if their life was at risk breached Ar­ti­cle Eight of the Euro­pean Con­ven­tion on Hu­man Rights.

In the case of a woman with a fa­tally dam­aged foe­tus, the cur­rent law was ‘a gross in­ter­fer­ence with her per­sonal au­ton­omy’, he told Belfast High Court. He said in such cases there is ‘no life to pro­tect’, adding: ‘When the foe­tus leaves the womb, it can­not sur­vive in­de­pen­dently. It is doomed.’

For fe­male vic­tims of sex crimes, the judge said the law ‘com­pletely ig­nores the per­sonal cir­cum­stances of the vic­tim’.

North­ern Ire­land is not cov­ered by the 1967 Abor­tion Act which made abor­tion com­mon­place in the rest of the UK.

The hear­ing was lodged fol­low­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion by the North­ern Ire­land Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion, which called the rul­ing ‘his­toric’. How­ever, anti-abor­tion group Pre­cious Life said it would ‘open the flood­gates’ for wide­spread ter­mi­na­tions.

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