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Sarah Ewart 'disappointed' abortion report still not published

Sarah Ewart. Picture by Hugh Russell
Brendan Hughes

A WOMAN whose experience of abortion has placed the issue back before the courts has expressed disappointment that a Stormont report on abortion law remains unpublished a year after its completion.

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

Her case, known as fatal foetal abnormality (FFA), prompted renewed public debate on the north's strict abortion laws and led to Stormont commissioning a report on FFA issues.

The paper, completed a year ago, was produced by a six-member working group and is understood to recommend legislative change.

Campaigners have called for civil servants to publish the report in the absence of an executive after other government documents were released without ministerial sign-off.

But Stormont officials insist it should not be published "until it has been considered by the executive".

Ms Ewart said: "At their request, I spent so much time meeting with relevant officials on this that I feel disappointed that one year on nothing has happened and it still hasn't been published.

"This report is significant to mine and other women's lives who continue to be affected by the current law in Northern Ireland."

Ms Ewart will travel to London next week along with Amnesty International for a Supreme Court case challenging Northern Ireland's abortion law.

"The failure of our politicians to legislate for change has left me with no option. I hope that the Supreme Court will bring about the change that I and other women so desperately need," she said.

In Northern Ireland, abortion is only permitted if the mother's life is at risk or there is a permanent or serious risk to her mental or physical health.

Amnesty International's Grainne Teggart said: "We hope the Supreme Court will bring to an end the grave injustice that women in Northern Ireland face through being denied abortion healthcare.

"The time for change is now. It's time the courts did what our politicians have failed to do."

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