Abortion law reform in Northern Ireland – so will it happen this time round?

As readers will recall, the Abortion Act 1967 does not apply in the Province; instead, termination of pregnancy is regulated by a combination of ss 58 and 59 Offences Against the Person Act 1861, subject to s 25 Criminal Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 1945 (which extended to Northern Ireland the provisions of the Infant Life (Preservation) Act 1929) and the relevant case-law, some of which is English. The only permissible grounds for termination of pregnancy are where it is necessary to save a woman’s life or where continued pregnancy risks permanent and serious damage to her mental or physical health. According to the BBC, official figures confirmed that at least 40 terminations a year were carried out on those grounds. Continue reading