A recent decision by the United Kingdom's Supreme Court is being hailed by pro-life leaders for protecting the unborn in Northern Ireland. The UK's high court ruled June 14 that women in Northern Ireland, which bans abortion (except for the health of the woman), may not travel to England or elsewhere in the UK to receive the murderous procedure under the UK's “free” National Health Service (NHS).
According to the UK's Independent newspaper, the ruling was made in a 2012 case involving a 15-year-old girl who traveled with her mother from Northern Ireland to Manchester, England to receive an abortion provided under NHS guidelines. However, because the girl was from Northern Ireland, where abortion is illegal, they were told they would have to pay hundreds of pounds out-of-pocket for the procedure. The girl, now a 20-year-old woman, appealed the ruling and the case slowly made its way through the UK legal system, ultimately landing before the UK high court.
In announcing the court's decision to deny the appeal, the three judges making up the majority in the ruling cited the need to “afford respect to the democratic decision of the people of Northern Ireland” to deny abortion to its citizens.
According to the British Pregnancy Advisory (Bpas), in 2016 at least 724 women traveled from Northern Ireland to England to kill their unborn children.
The young woman and the mother in the case said in a statement that they would ignore the Supreme Court ruling and move on to additional appeals: “We have instructed our legal team to file an application with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, to protect the human rights of the many other women who make the lonely journey to England every week because they are denied access to basic healthcare services in their own country.”
Ann Furedi, chief executive of Bpas, joined in criticizing the high court decision, insisting that it was “morally right” for the UK to provide NHS-funded abortions to Northern Ireland women, despite their country's attempts to protect defenseless pre-born children. “NHS-funded abortion care may not have been declared a legal right for Northern Irish women today,” she declared, “ but it is morally right to provide it: 724 women traveled from Northern Ireland to England for abortion care in 2016. They deserve the same care and compassion as all other UK citizens.”
Reporting on the case, the UK's pro-life Christian Institute noted: “When the Northern Ireland Department of Justice held a public consultation on proposals to liberalize abortion laws, the overwhelming majority of respondents rejected any change in the law.”
Additionally, the Irish pro-life Iona Institute said in a statement that Northern Ireland “should be proud of its life-saving abortion law,” adding that “at a time when scientific advances have given us an amazing ‘window’ into babies in the womb, we are right to continue to reject the permissive British abortion model.”
Liam Gibson of the UK's Society for the Protection of Unborn Children also lauded Northern Ireland’s refusal to cave in to pressure from pro-abortion forces, warning that not doing so “would inevitably result in the killing of babies on a massive scale, just as it has in the rest of the UK.”
The Christian Institute noted that “the number of women traveling from Northern Ireland to the UK for abortions has fallen substantially in the last ten years,” adding that the figure of 724 cited by Bpas is the lowest since 1967, when abortion was legalized in the UK.
Photo of the United Kingdom's Supreme Court: Thinkstock