The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) has been accused of mounting a “crusade against disabled babies”, as it begins a legal challenge to NI’s pro-life law.
Over the next three days, judges at the UK Supreme Court will hear an appeal by the NIHRC and other pro-abortion groups, including Amnesty International, claiming that the abortion of severely disabled babies is a human right.
The groups want abortion laws in the Province to be liberalised. Currently, the Abortion Act 1967 does not apply in Northern Ireland, where abortion remains illegal except to preserve the life of the mother.
Abandoning human rights
The case has been strongly criticised by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC).
Earlier this week, SPUC’s NI Development Officer Liam Gibson accused the NIHRC of “abandoning genuine human rights and instead using public funding to target disabled babies”.
He said: “It is the job of the Commission to promote human rights and in particular the rights of vulnerable groups like the disabled. Instead, the Commission is waging a legal battle to overturn laws in Northern Ireland which protect unborn children from being aborted simply because they have a disability.”
Gibson called on James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, to review the workings of the NIHRC and “end its crusade against disabled babies”.
On Monday, Minister for Women and Equalities Justine Greening confirmed the Government’s intention to fund abortions for Northern Irish women.
Since June, women have been able to obtain an abortion in England free of charge, but the Government has now said they will receive state support for travel costs if their income falls under a certain threshold.
Reacting to the news, Nola Leach, of the Christian charity CARE, said the plan “significantly undermines the rule of law in Northern Ireland”.
“Women and girls who are experiencing crisis pregnancies need support. The offer of funding for a free abortion in another country is short-sighted as it neglects any mention of an offer of counselling or care for the woman.”
The NIHRC appeal began today and is expected to last about three days. For more information, follow The Christian Institute on social media.