Anti-Abortion Activists Win Court Bid

Northern Ireland's Department of Health has been ordered to withdraw its current abortion guidelines.

A court today ruled that guidance issued by the department fails to deal properly with counselling and conscientious objection.

The case was brought by anti-abortion campaigners, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, who suggested government advice was misleading and legally inaccurate.

They won the right for greater clarity from public information.

However, Lord Justice Girvan stopped short of quashing the document, which was published by the Department of Health in March.
News Image
He said: "An order directing that the guidance be withdrawn must be the appropriate relief in the circumstances where it has been found to be misleading."

Anti-abortion activists had sought a declaration that the decision to publish the advice to health professionals was unlawful.

Abortions are illegal in Northern Ireland, except in certain circumstance.

Medical professionals can allow a pregnancy to be terminated if the mother's life is at risk, or if giving birth could adversely effect her future mental or physical health.

The Royal College of Midwives has said the Department of Health's guidelines bring greater clarity to the legal position of staff who take part in abortions.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

01 February 2018
PHA Launches Breastfeeding Campaign
The Public Health Agency (PHA) has launched a new breastfeeding campaign. The campaign highlights the health benefits of breastfeeding and supporting mums to feel more comfortable breastfeeding in public. The SDLP has welcomed the launch of the Public Health Agency’s breastfeeding campaign.
20 April 2018
Schools Recognised For 'Exceptional Pastoral Care'
A number of schools have been recognised for their exceptional pastoral care at an awards ceremony hosted by the Department of Education and the Public Health Agency (PHA).
05 April 2018
Nearly Half Of Young People Experience Mental Health Issues
Nearly half of young people in Northern Ireland experience some kind of mental health issue, according to the latest research from the Prince's Trust. The new research reveals that young people fear for their emotional health more than ever before, as worries about the future, money and generally 'not being good enough' pile up on their generation.
01 August 2018
Department Of Health To Launch Review Of Neurology Services
The Department of Health is to launch a regional review of neurological services covering all neurology specialities. The review will entail a comprehensive review as part of the Department’s programme of service reviews, announced in 2016 by the former Health Minister in Health and Wellbeing 2026 'Delivering Together'.
03 September 2008
Changes Loom On Health Care
News of a radical shake-up proposed for health and social care in Belfast is not the only changes afoot as the way that health promotion is delivered across Northern Ireland is also being changed.