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Dickson welcomes Publication of Report on Fatal Foetal Abnormality

East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson, has welcomed the publication of joint Department of Health and Justice report which recommends changes in abortion law here.

The working group on fatal foetal abnormality, set up before the election in May 2016, will recommend the 'law be changed to provide for termination of pregnancy where an abnormality is of such a nature as to be likely to cause death either before birth, during birth or in the early period after birth'. The full report will be published by the Department of Justice and Department of Health.

Mr Dickson commented: “In 2016, I proposed an amendment to the Justice Bill, which would have allowed termination in cases where the foetus has no prospect of a viable life. I believe that would have eased the trauma some women go through every year, though - of course - any such decision would have been for the individual woman based on a full medical assessment.

“I have long been in contact with Sarah Ewart and her mother Jane Christie, who have campaigned on this matter since Sarah's heart-breaking experience, forcing her to seek a termination in Great Britain. I promised them we would endeavour to do whatever we could to help update the law in terms of fatal foetal abnormalities Unfortunately, the Assembly did not support my proposed amendment, but I feel this report has vindicated my position.

“At the time, many DUP MLAs stated that we needed a working group to look into the issue before they could vote on it. We now have irrefutable evidence of the need to legislate to allow women in Northern Ireland to access abortion in the traumatic circumstances where they are given a diagnosis a child will not survive. I am happy to see that other MLAs, have welcomed the report and when the Assembly is operational again, we must urgently reform the law according to this expert advice."

The Report can be accessed here.

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