Christian groups welcomed a legal ruling that Northern Ireland’s abortion laws should be decided by the local government—not by the judges, reports Belfast News Letter.
The Court of Appeal in Belfast overturned an earlier ruling that the country’s strict abortion law is incompatible with human rights legislation.
Three judges in the Court of Appeal ruled that abortion should be under the jurisdiction of the Stormont Assembly and not the judiciary.
Abortion is permitted in Northern Ireland only if a woman’s mental or physical health is at risk. The High Court in 2015 ruled that denying abortion to women carrying babies with fatal fetal abnormalities, or those who were victims of incest or rape breached the European Convention on Human Rights.
Now, the Court of Appeal rejected this ruling.
Christian think-tank Iona Institute NI lauded the ruling, saying it was “a significant defeat for the Human Rights Commission which was attempting to weaken the right to life of the unborn.”
The Christian charity CARE stated that, “The judges were very clear that any changes made to the abortion law in Northern Ireland should be made by the elected Assembly and not by the judiciary.”
CARE said the country’s abortion laws provide protection both for the mother and the unborn child. “We cannot ignore one to the detriment of the other,” the group added.
Meantime, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children said “matters of such huge moral, legal and social implications should be dealt with by the legislature.”
Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan, who presided over the Court of Appeal, explained that it is unconstitutional for judges to impose their personal opinions to such a delicate matter. “Courts should not make decisions freighted with the individual attitudes of the judiciary.”
Newslettercouk. (2017). Newslettercouk. http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/crime/anti-abortion-groups-hail-judges-ruling-that-politicians-should-decide-law-1-8033174