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Ministers to get report on abortion by end of month

By Noel McAdam

Published 21/09/2016

Justice Minister Claire Sugden
Justice Minister Claire Sugden

An expert group dealing with the laws surrounding abortion in cases where the foetus cannot survive after birth is to report by the end of this month, the Assembly has heard.

But Justice Minister Claire Sugden was unable to tell MLAs yesterday whether the long-awaited report will be published.

The report of the group, which she said has met three times, will go to both her and Health Minister Michelle O'Neill.

Answering questions from the DUP's Paula Bradshaw and Ulster Unionist Steve Aiken, she said: "It will then be up to us to find a way of moving forward, because this will not be a decision for me or the Health Minister alone.

"Any legislative change, if that is what is recommended, will have to be accepted by the wider Executive."

In February, the Assembly voted against legalising abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality by 59 votes to 40.

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