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Judgment is reserved in abortion law case

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

Published 18/06/2015

Judgment has been reserved in a landmark legal bid to relax Northern Ireland's abortion laws
Judgment has been reserved in a landmark legal bid to relax Northern Ireland's abortion laws

Judgment has been reserved in a landmark legal bid to relax Northern Ireland's abortion laws.

Mr Justice Mark Horner said he realised a verdict would be eagerly anticipated but the complex and emotive case required "mature reflection".

The judge told Belfast High Court: "It will come as no surprise that I will not be making an immediate judgment on this case.

"The quality and quantity of the arguments both written and oral has given me food for thought."

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) is seeking to legalise abortion in cases of serious foetal malformation, rape and incest.

The 1967 Abortion Act does not extend to Northern Ireland and termination of pregnancy is only permitted if a woman's life is at risk or if there is a permanent or serious risk to her mental or physical health.

The region's Department of Justice has carried out a public consultation on changing the law to allow abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality but, the NIHRC claimed the consultation paper, does not go far enough.

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