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Pro life group seeks ‘intervenor’ status in NI case

By Susan Gately - 10 January, 2015

Precious Life outside NIHRCA Northern Ireland Pro Life group has applied for leave to intervene in a landmark High Court case on behalf of the unborn.

In  December, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission issued legal proceedings  in the High Court against the Department of Justice seeking a change in the law to allow access to abortion in the case of  serious malformation of the foetus, rape or incest.

Earlier this week, a preliminary hearing on the case took place in the High Court and Precious Life applied for ‘intervenor’ status in the case, representing the rights of  the unborn.

The case has been put forward until 2nd February.

“Our application has been accepted by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission,” Ms Smyth told CatholicIreland.net.

The commission has already furnished the solicitor acting for Precious Life with the documentation relating to the High Court case for Judicial Review.

“We are convinced we will be involved and we are glad to be there on behalf of the unborn.”

When the case comes up for further mention on 2 February Ms Smyth believes other pro life organisations in Northern Ireland, like SPUC, will also apply to be involved  in the case.

Next week Ms Smyth will meet  with the Cross party Pro Life platform in the Northern Ireland Assembly to discuss the case.

According to Precious Life, the right to life of all members of the human family, regardless of any distinction or status, is enshrined in internationally agreed declarations, conventions, and covenants such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, the principles of which are specifically endorsed in the European Convention on Human Rights 1950, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1959, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1976.

Bernadette Smyth, founder Precious Life

Bernadette Smyth, founder Precious Life

“However, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) will not seek to protect the right to life of unborn children under threat of legalised abortion.”

“Rather, according to the NIHRC, the law in Northern Ireland, which ensures that every human being, born and unborn, has a right to life, a right not to be intentionally killed, is in violation of human rights.”

She said the move of the NIHRC was “undemocratic” and she called on the Northern Ireland Assembly to vigorously oppose any change in legislation that would destroy Northern Ireland’s unborn children.

The Department of Justice has recently recommended a change in the law to allow abortion in cases where the foetus has a lethal abnormality and is currently running a public consultation process with a view to a possible extension of abortion law in the province.

Reacting to the issuing of proceedings by the NIHRC in December the Department of Justice in Northern Ireland said that given the fact that a full review and consultation process was in train, the high court action was ill timed.

“An appropriate process is under way which is seeking to review and adjust the current law. The legal action being taken by the NIHRC is therefore ill-timed and unnecessary,” said the Department spokesperson.

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