North’s Attorney General challenges High Court ruling on abortion

Decision could see abortion allowed in cases of fatal foetal abnormality, rape and incest

Northern Ireland's Attorney General has lodged an appeal against the recent decision which could see abortion permitted in cases of fatal foetal abnormality, rape and incest.

At the end of November, Mr Justice Mark Horner ruled in Belfast High Court that abortion legislation in Northern Ireland breached article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights – the right to privacy – in relation to fatal foetal abnormality and pregnancy as a result of sexual crime.

For Mr Justice Horner's ruling to be made effective, the Northern Assembly would have to bring in new legislation.

As expected, Attorney General John Larkin QC has decided to appeal against the decision to the Belfast Court of Appeal. At the time of the ruling Mr Larkin said he was "profoundly disappointed" at the decision and was considering "the grounds for appeal".

Amnesty Northern Ireland said it would resist the attempt to overturn the High Court ruling. “The Assembly must bring Northern Ireland’s abortion laws into the 21st century,” said its Northern Ireland director, Patrick Corrigan.

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty is the former Northern editor of The Irish Times