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Defending life
from conception to natural death


Abortion Law in Northern Ireland Does Not Breach Human Rights Says Court of Appeal. Unborn Children Should Have Legal Protection

29 June 2017


The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has welcomed a ruling by the Court of Appeal in Belfast which recognises that the law in the Province is justified in protecting unborn babies from abortion.

Three judges found unanimously that Northern Ireland’s laws, which prohibit abortion, are not incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The decision overturns a 2015 High Court judgement which stated that unborn children diagnosed with a serious disability or conceived in sexual crime did not deserve the legal protection provided to other children. 

After the ruling, Liam Gibson, the development officer for SPUC in Northern Ireland, said:

“There is no right to abortion. No such right has ever been recognised in any universal international human rights treaty.

“The right to life, however, is the most fundamental of all human rights, without this all other rights are meaningless. This right is shared equally by all human beings regardless of our disabilities or the circumstances of our conception.

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child recognise that children require appropriate legal protection before as well as after birth.”

SPUC is the oldest pro-life organisation in the world and Mr Gibson added:

“This case was an attempt to introduce a lethal form of discrimination and a direct assault on the rights of all unborn children judged to be imperfect. The Court has recognised that there is no right to abortion within the European Convention and that matters of such huge moral, legal and social implications should be dealt with by the legislature and not by judges. They said that despite the criticisms of the law in Northern Ireland it provided a degree of certainty and accountability. They said that those who wanted a change in the law failed to show why disabled children did not deserve the same rights as other children.

“It is shocking that the Human Rights Commission, which is publicly funded, and Amnesty International, which claims to defend human rights, should demand that children be legally killed simply because they’re disabled. 

“Their position is clear and simple. They want to declare war on disabled babies in the womb.

“Abortion kills children and injures women, it is never a compassionate response to a crisis pregnancy. Fifty years of legalised abortion in Britain has proven that it can cause long-term psychological harm to women. This is especially true when an abortion is carried out because the baby is disabled. It can also result in serious physical injuries.

Mr Gibson added:

“This case highlights the need for far greater support to be made available to families when an unborn baby is diagnosed with a life-limiting condition. 

“Abortion is not the answer.

“Instead, the health service in Northern Ireland must do more to integrate perinatal hospice care into existing maternity services. This would provide real help for families hearing the heartbreaking news that their unborn baby is terminally ill.”

For further information contact Liam Gibson, Northern Ireland Development Officer on:

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