SPUC wins Northern Ireland case: Official guidelines on abortion must be withdrawn, Belfast's High Court rules
The court found the current advice on terminating pregnancies failed to give clear guidance in the areas of "counselling and conscientious objection”.
In his ruling, Lord Justice Girvan, however, stopped short of quashing the document issued by the North's department of health in March.
The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (Spuc) brought judicial review proceedings in a bid to win a declaration that the decision to publish the advice was unlawful.[..]
Spuc wanted the High Court to declare that what has been produced does not properly set out the law.
Lawyers for the group claimed the guidance also fails to deal with the rights of the unborn child and provides inadequate advice for conscientious objectors within the medical profession.
The department's legal representatives rejected allegations it had failed to make clear that abortion was illegal in Northern Ireland apart from in the most exceptional circumstances.
It was also stressed that the document was for health workers rather than the general public.
But Lord Justice Girvan held that the section in the guidance on counselling needs to be reconsidered because it is unclear and could lead to the adoption of potentially unlawful procedures.