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Justice Minister responds to High Court ruling on abortion law

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Justice Minister David Ford has responded to today’s High Court ruling that the law criminalising abortion in cases of fatal fetal abnormality and for rape and incest was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

David Ford said: “The decision by Justice Horner to make a declaration of incompatibility was not unexpected and we now need time to consider the next steps.

“I have already asked the Executive for agreement to bring forward draft legislation to exempt from the criminal law abortion in the case of fatal fetal abnormality. The judgement does not alter my position on this policy objective and I will continue to seek Executive approval to progress this aim.

“I also said in response to the consultation on abortion law carried out earlier this year, that the complexities of legislating in respect of sexual crime were such that it was not possible to make detailed proposals at that time but that the Department would consider further. It remains my view that legislating in this regard will present very difficult challenges.”

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