NI: MLA submits abortion amendments to Justice Bill

Steven Agnew MLA
Steven Agnew MLA

Steven Agnew MLA has submitted amendments to the Northern Ireland Executive’s Justice (No. 2) Bill in a bid to bring abortion law in line with a High Court judgment last year.

Last year, a judge ruled that the prohibition of abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality (FFA) and pregnancy as a consequence of sexual crimes was unlawful.

The legal challenge to Northern Ireland’s abortion law was launched by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC).

In an “historic” ruling, the court held the general prohibition of abortions breached article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

The Attorney General for Northern Ireland is appealing the judgment, while the Department of Justice is appealing parts of it.

However, Mr Agnew called on the Northern Ireland Executive to stop “wasting time and money on unnecessary appeals” and to support his amendments.

He added: “I am seeking to amend the Justice Bill to give women, in limited, traumatic circumstances, a choice.

“It is unacceptable that some women in Northern Ireland cannot access the medical treatment they need, for example if there is a fatal foetal abnormality or if they have been raped.

“Northern Ireland’s archaic laws need to be brought up to date, to reflect the needs of many women in our society.

“The High Court has ruled that our termination laws are in breach of the Human Rights Act. In effect, they are illegal.

“That puts the onus on the Assembly to legislate and rectify this.”

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