The British government is facing being taken to court if it introduces an extreme new abortion regime on Northern Ireland, a pro-life group has warned.
Right To Life UK has told Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis that it will take legal action if the government introduces an abortion framework that goes further than what is legally required.
The government is obliged under the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Act 2019 to introduce abortion provisions to the province by March 31. However, the government has launched a consultation that goes far beyond what is strictly necessary.
The consultation proposes opening up abortion provision to any healthcare professional, possibly including pharmacists, nurses and midwives. It would also allow abortion without certification up to either 12 or14 weeks, and up to 22 or 24 weeks on mental health grounds. Abortions for disabilities would be available up to birth.
Right To Life has said in a pre-action notice that the government would be acting unlawfully if it implements the proposals outlined the consultation.
Right to Life spokesperson Catherine Robinson said: “The UK Government has proposed introducing an extreme abortion framework to Northern Ireland, which goes far beyond what it is legally required to introduce.
“With Stormont restored, it is vital that the people of Northern Ireland have a say on their country’s new abortion framework through their elected representatives in the Northern Ireland Assembly. It is therefore only appropriate that the Government introduce only the minimum that is legally required to comply with the Act, and leave any other changes to the law to the Northern Ireland Assembly.
“If the UK Government pushes ahead with their extreme abortion framework proposals, they would be acting unlawfully and would be undermining the devolution settlement at a time when it is already fragile.”
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