Northern Ireland

Abortion: Appeal Court told campaigner Sarah Ewart is a 'victim' of NI law

Sarah Ewart Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Sarah Ewart has been involved in a high-profile campaign to legalise abortion in Northern Ireland in cases of fatal foetal abnormality

A Northern Ireland woman, whose experience of abortion placed the issue back in the courts, is "a victim", the Court of Appeal has been told.

In 2013, Sarah Ewart travelled to England for a termination after doctors said her unborn child had no chance of survival outside the womb.

Such a diagnosis, known as fatal foetal abnormality, is not grounds for a legal abortion in Northern Ireland.

Mrs Ewart has included her own experience as part of the appeal case.

She has been involved in a high-profile campaign to legalise abortion in Northern Ireland in cases of fatal foetal abnormality.

The appeal, which began on Monday, has been taken by the Department of Justice and Northern Ireland Attorney General John Larkin.

They are attempting to overturn a 2015 ruling which said Northern Ireland's abortion laws breached human rights.

Unlike the rest of the UK, abortion is only permitted in Northern Ireland if a woman's life is at risk or there is a permanent or serious risk to her mental or physical health.

The original case was taken by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC).

During day three of the appeal on Wednesday, council for the NIHRC made their opening comments to the court.

A barrister said that Mrs Ewart, who was present in court, was "undoubtedly a victim" and that her testimony to date of her experiences around abortion have remained unchallenged.

The court heard that by being denied an abortion in Northern Ireland, Articles Three and Eight of the Human Rights Convention had been breached.

The barrister added: "She is in a position of risk; hopefully a very small risk but a small risk of being in the same situation again."

During the earlier hearing on Monday, the attorney general argued that there was no proper basis for a doctor to say a foetus has a fatal foetal abnormality.

The appeal continues.

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