PRESS RELEASE:Precious Life welcome Supreme Court Rejection of case to change NI abortion law



Date: 7th June 2018


Precious Life welcome Supreme Court Rejection of case to change NI abortion law

Northern Ireland’s leading pro-life group Precious Life have welcomed the Supreme Court’s rejection of a case on NI abortion law. Seven judges in London dismissed the case brought by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and ruled that the Commission had no legal standing to bring its challenge against the abortion law. The judges also ruled that the Supreme Court "has no jurisdiction" in the proceedings to make a declaration of incompatibility or to strike down law. Precious Life said the Supreme Court ruling reaffirms that abortion is an issue for the Northern Ireland Assembly and not the courts.


The case was brought by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, who falsely claimed the laws in Northern Ireland that protect unborn children were “incompatible with international human rights.”

Speaking outside the Supreme Court this morning, Director of Precious Life Bernadette Smyth said, "We welcome the Supreme Court ruling, which reaffirms that abortion is a devolved issue for Northern Ireland Assembly, and the Supreme Court, or any court, do not have the power to overturn our life-saving, pro-life laws that protect unborn babies and their mothers.”

“With this dismissal and rejection of their case, the so-called NI Human Rights Commission should now hang their heads in shame. Life is a right, not a privilege and without the right to life all other human rights are meaningless. The NIHRC have inexcusably wasted taxpayers' money – much needed money that should have been used instead to help support women in crisis or unexpected pregnancies, with life-affirming healthcare and holistic support that protect both mother and baby."

She continued, "The judges may have their individual personal opinions, but they are not legally binding on our laws, on devolution, or on the democratic process in Northern Ireland. Our laws do not breach international human rights because there is no ‘right to abortion’ under any international legal instrument including the European Convention on Human Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights. In fact, the ‘UN Convention on the Rights of the Child’ - to which the UK has signed up to – states ‘...the child…needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, BEFORE as well as after BIRTH.’ The fundamental and universal right to life that must be protected for every human being, born and preborn.

Mrs Smith added, “The NI Human Rights Commission and other pro-abortion groups must cease using derogatory terms like ‘lethal’, 'fatal fetal abnormality', and 'incompatible with life' when referring to babies in the womb. At Stormont last year, Dr Martin McCaffrey, Professor of Paediatrics in the Division of Neo-Natal Perinatal Medicine at UNC School of Medicine gave a powerful presentation as to why these disparaging terms should not be used to describe a child diagnosed with a life-limiting condition. I reiterate what Dr McCaffrey said in Stormont – that trying to force the abortion issue on the backs of the most vulnerable humans among us is certainly disgraceful, but is refutable based on data. Edwards and Patau babies are not lethal, unless surviving days, months, years and even decades - is lethal? Anencephaly babies have shorter lives but are most often born alive when pregnancies are allowed to continue. And there is clear data that these mothers have less Post Traumatic Stress or depression after carrying their babies to term."


Bernadette Smyth concluded, "Women deserve better than abortion. Northern Ireland's two patient care model in pregnancy has led us to have one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world. And our pro-life laws have saved at least 100,000 lives in Northern Ireland. Women in crisis pregnancies need genuine help and support - not abortion. Abortion hurts women and kills babies. The value of a human life cannot be ranked based on circumstances of conception or any disability the baby may have. Everyone is entitled to their fundamental human right to life and our laws uphold this for all of Norther Ireland’s unborn children and our future generations. Precious Life will always be a voice for the unborn child, and we will continue to work with our political representatives to keep abortion not only illegal but unthinkable!"



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