Ford welcomes publication of abortion law report

David Ford MLA has welcomed the impending publication of an inter-Departmental report which recommends changes in abortion law here.

The working group on fatal foetal abnormality, set up before the election in May 2016, will recommend the ‘law be changed to provide for termination of pregnancy where an abnormality is of such a nature as to be likely to cause death either before birth, during birth or in the early period after birth’. The full report will be published by the Department of Justice and Department of Health today (Wednesday).

Mr Ford, who attempted to bring changes to the law when Justice Minister, said it was long overdue.

“The report provides full justification for the actions I took as Minister of Justice to allow abortion in cases where the foetus has no prospect of a viable life. I believe that would have eased the trauma some women go through every year, though – of course – any such decision would have been for the individual woman based on a full medical assessment.

“Unfortunately, the Executive blocked my proposals, which were based on firm evidence from a detailed consultation process. The question needs to be asked of how many women have suffered since I made a promise to Sarah Ewart I would try to change the law some years ago.

“While we unfortunately have no Executive currently in place to take this forward, I believe we now have irrefutable evidence of the need to legislate to allow women in Northern Ireland to access abortion in the traumatic circumstances where they are given a diagnosis a child will not survive.”
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