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Northern Ireland: Amnesty calls for release of abortion report after key recommendation disclosed at Supreme Court

“Any argument in favour of secrecy has just crumbled” - Grainne Teggart

Amnesty International has called on civil servants in Northern Ireland to release a year-old report on Northern Ireland’s abortion laws, following an admission by a government lawyer at the Supreme Court that the report recommends law reform.

The working group on fatal foetal abnormality (FFA), set up by Department of Justice and Department of Health last year, completed its report over a year ago, but it has yet to be released.

A lawyer for the Department of Justice admitted at the Supreme Court yesterday that the group has recommended legislative change in cases of fatal foetal abnormality.

The working group reported to ministers on 11 October 2016, but its conclusions have not yet been published.

Stormont officials have said it will not be published “until it has been considered by the executive”, although other departments recently released key documents without ministerial sign-off.

Grainne Teggart, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland campaigns manager, said:

“Any argument in favour of secrecy has just crumbled, now that the Department of Justice has admitted in open court that the working group report recommends abortion law reform.

“The absence of a Minister or an Executive must not be used as an excuse to stifle informed public debate.

“This report deals with an issue of vital public interest and should be published without further delay.”

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