PR: Plan to appeal abortion ruling welcomed

Attorney General plan to appeal abortion ruling welcomed

30th November 2015

The Life Institute has welcomed the decision of the Northern Ireland Attorney General John Larkin to appeal today's Belfast High Court abortion ruling. Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute said the ruling was deeply flawed and furthered 'lethal discrimination' against children with severe disabilities. 

Today, Mr. Justice Horner held that the rights of women who are pregnant with babies suffering from 'fatal foetal abnormality' or are pregnant as a result of sexual crime are impugned by Northern Irish legislation.  

Justice Horner attempted to justify his decision to allow abortion for  ‘fatal-foetal abnormalities’ by comparing children with life-limiting conditions to other ‘seriously malformed foetuses’, arguing that the former are unable to 'enjoy life', a reasoning described by the Life Institute as 'having no basis in law or ethics'. 

'On what highly-subjective basis can any judge decide who is enjoying life and who isn't,' said Niamh Uí Bhriain. She was also critical of the language used by the judge who said babies with severe disabilities were 'doomed' and did not have a life worth protecting. 

'It is extraordinary to see a High Court judge use such cruel and thoughtless languages which will have been enormously hurtful to the majority of parents who carry their sick babies to term and who cherish every moment with their babies, most of whom do live beyond birth, ' she said. 

Ms. Uí Bhriain said that research demonstrated that 72% of children with anencephaly live beyond birth, with 25% living for up to 5 days. For other 'fatal' conditions to which Mr. Justice Horner was referring, such as Trisomy 13 and 18, the average life of children affected is between 10 and 14 days, whilst others live much longer. 

'This ruling is deeply flawed and discriminatory and we hope it will be appealed as soon as possible,' she said.


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