Leading pro-life group Precious Life say a High Court judgment delivered in Belfast today is a “travesty of justice for unborn babies in Northern Ireland.”
The court ruled the laws in Northern Ireland that protect children in the womb “breached” the UK’s human rights commitments. Precious Life – who were ‘third party interveners’ when the case was heard in January 2019 – staged a protest outside the Belfast High Court while the ruling was delivered.
The woman at the centre of the court case – abortion campaigner Sarah Ewart – had an abortion in England when her unborn child was diagnosed with a life-limiting condition.
Speaking outside the court, Director of Precious Life Bernadette Smyth said, “Today’s judgement is a travesty of justice for unborn babies in Northern Ireland. This ruling actually breaches the UK’s commitments and obligations to protect the human rights of children before birth.”
Ms Smyth explained: “The ruling is incompatible with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – signed by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – which states very clearly that every child ‘needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, BEFORE as well as after BIRTH…EVERY CHILD has the inherent RIGHT TO LIFE’.
“It’s a sad day in Northern Ireland when the Belfast High Court can completely ignore the UK’s commitment to uphold the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; strip away legal protection for the unborn child, and deny the inherent right to life to every child before their birth.”
Mrs Smyth continued: “The ultimate aim of this case was to legalise abortion of little babies in the womb who are diagnosed with life-limiting disabilities. The vast majority of these unborn babies with life-limiting conditions are diagnosed at the 20-week scan. Therefore, it is late-term abortions – even right up to the moment of birth – that this case was attempting to legalise in Northern Ireland.
“Pregnant women, in the difficult situation of receiving a poor diagnosis for their baby, need real care, love and support to ensure they have the precious time with their sick child, as well as healing and closure. But abortion is never a realistic or compassionate response for families in these heart-breaking circumstances. In Northern Ireland, we need more funding for truly compassionate alternatives such as perinatal hospice care and crisis pregnancy support – rather than legalising abortion, which kills an unborn baby and damages women mentally and physically.”
Mrs Smyth concluded: “Every child has a right to life regardless of predicted lifespan, circumstance of conception, gender, race or disability. Our laws that protect unborn children do not breach any ‘human right’. There is no ‘human right’ to abortion under any international legal treaties or conventions. But the most fundamental human right is the right to life itself. Without the right to life, all other rights are meaningless.”
Picture: Bernadette Smyth with pro-lifers. (Precious Life).