FPA is deeply disappointed following the decision of the Court of Appeal in Belfast to allow an appeal by Northern Ireland’s Attorney General and the Department of Justice. The court ruled that it is up for the Northern Ireland Assembly to decide on abortion law reform.
This follows the judgement from the High Court in Belfast in 2015, which found that abortion law in Northern Ireland breached the European Convention on Human Rights, as it does not allow for abortion even in cases of sexual crime or when there is a fatal fetal abnormality. This verdict today upheld the appeal against this judgement, finding that the court should not intervene and that it is a matter that the Assembly should decide.
Laura Russell, Policy and Public Affairs Manager for the sexual health charity FPA, said:
“This deeply disappointing decision by the Court of Appeal makes the need for support for Stella Creasy MP’s amendment to the Queen’s Speech today even more crucial.
“While women in Northern Ireland continue to be denied basic healthcare services at home, politicians in Westminster today have the opportunity to alleviate the significant financial burden caused by the cost of private procedures by allowing free, NHS-funded abortions for women from Northern Ireland forced to travel to England and Wales.
“We urge all MPs to support this important move for women in Northern Ireland who, as UK taxpayers and UK citizens deserve to be able to access free, safe and legal abortion services.
“We are likely to know whether the case will reach the Supreme Court by the end of the day and FPA intends to offer all the support we can. Healthcare is a human rights issue and women in Northern Ireland deserve better.”