Court of Appeal’s abortion ruling is extremely disappointing, says Bradshaw

Paula Bradshaw MLA has said the Court of Appeal’s ruling that should be up to politicians, not the courts, to decide on abortion law in Northern Ireland is ‘extremely disappointing’.

The decision marked the second time this month the courts were forced to rule on the issue of abortion, signalling ‘a need for urgent clarity’ Paula added.

“It is extremely disappointing that the landmark ruling of 2015, that saw the High Court rule the current law breached the European Convention on Human Rights in cases of fatal foetal abnormality or sexual crime, has now been set back.

“We need urgent clarity on this issue. Abortion is a conscience issue for Alliance, but the current ambiguity around the law here simply is not working and in some cases putting more people at risk – as we witnessed in a case earlier this month when the courts ruled women from Northern Ireland are not entitled to free abortions on the NHS in England.

“However, as the UK in general has taken a greater interest in Northern Ireland following the Westminster election, our laws around abortion and other social issues have also fallen under that microscope. I was proud to be one of four MLAs who signed a letter in support of Stella Creasy MPs amendment to the Queen’s speech calling for the NHS in England to provide safe and free abortions in England.

“What is required is a fundamental change in the law to give women the help they need when they need it. I will be following the debate in parliament later today with interest and will continue to meet with local organisations – including the Family Planning Association tomorrow – to see how we can best see change realised.”

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