Legal challenge over abortion guidelines

Published Wednesday, 27 February 2013
Toggle font size

The Family Planning Association is going to the High Court in Belfast to call for the Health Department to issue abortion guidelines for healthcare professionals.

Legal challenge over abortion guidelines
The judicial review has been called for by the FPA. (© UTV)

It follows 11 years of legal action between the FPA and DHSSPS.

Unlike the rest of the United Kingdom, abortion is only permitted in Northern Ireland under restricted circumstances, however the charity says there are no good practice guidelines to enable clinicians and women to interpret the law, and thus it is not clear when it can take place.

"The current situation is unacceptable," said Dr Audrey Simpson OBE.

"Neither health professionals or women know when an abortion is permissible and this has devastating effects on women's health and well-being and the standard of care professionals are able to give them.

"We have spent over a decade on this issue and we will not give up until the Northern Ireland Assembly provides the guidance that is so urgently needed."

Guidelines for doctors were published in 2009 but were revoked after a legal review.

The DHSSPS said it would only issue guidance compatible with the law.

Abortion remains a controversial topic in NI, with the region's first private sexual health clinic opening last October amid protests by pro-life campaigners.

They say there is no desire for the services offered at the Marie Stopes clinic and argue that the law on abortion is perfectly clear and requires no further guidelines.

The hearing at the High Court in Belfast is expected to finish on Thursday.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
No comments. Be the first to comment.
Email address*:    
House Rules:  
Your Comment:  
[All comments are moderated and will not appear immediately. Your name, location and comment will be displayed on this page if your post passes moderation.]
Recently, I made one small change to my daily routine, and I have been completely overwhelmed with the benefits being reaped.
Flash flooding
Thu 13 November 2014
Wed 12 November 2014
The X Factor Live: Week 4
Sat 01 November 2014