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David Ford seeks to change abortion law with private members bill

David Ford said his bill was solely concerned with situations where a foetus cannot survive. Picture by Arthur Allison

FORMER Alliance leader David Ford has submitted a private member's bill seeking to reform the law around abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities.

It follows a previous attempt by Mr Ford to change the law while justice minister, which he said had been blocked.

The South Antrim MLA said a working group on abortion which was established before May's assembly election has now sent its report to the health and justice ministers.

"While that is welcome, any guidelines coming from it will not change the law to achieve the reform needed to help women who are given the dreadful diagnosis that a longed-for child has no prospect of life," he said.

"This is not about disability, it is solely concerned with situations where a foetus cannot survive."

Mr Ford said there was desire in Northern Ireland for change to the law to allow a termination in these circumstances.

Last month The Irish News revealed that assembly speaker Robin Newton was refusing to accept any further attempts by individual members to draft new laws until a review of the system is completed.

According to Mr Newton, there were 19 private members' bills in the system.

It emerged earlier this week that Mr Ford has been removed as an elder at his Presbyterian church due to a "breakdown in relationships" following comments made in support of same-sex marriage.

Earlier this month the MLA resigned as leader of the Alliance Party after 15 years.

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