30/11/2009

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He said: "An order directing that the guidance be withdrawn must be the appropriate relief in the circumstances where it has been found to be misleading."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.

(PR/BMcc)

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

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.
17 June 2015
Number Of People With HIV Almost Doubles In Ten Years – PHA
Northern Ireland had the biggest rise in new HIV diagnoses compared to the rest of the UK between 2000-2013, according to new figures. The number of people living with HIV has almost doubled over the last two years, the Public Health Agency (PHA) has announced.
03 September 2013
£7m Health Facility Launches At Jordanstown
A new £7m health research facility has been launched at the University of Ulster, Jordanstown. The Connected Health Innovation Centre (CHIC) follows a £6.8m investment by a consortium of technology companies. It is being supported by a £5m research and development (R&D) offer from Invest Northern Ireland.
26 April 2012
Suicide Awareness Training To Be Introduced To Council Staff
Suicide awareness training is to be introduced for all staff and politicians at Belfast City Council, the Lord Mayor has announced. The new initiative is just one outcome of a community conference hosted at City Hall by Councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile.
29 March 2012
Progress Slow In Treatment Of Prisoners Mental Health
Progress in the treatment of prisoners with mental health problems has been slow. While some improvements have been made a report published today by Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland shows that many challenges remain.