A troubling court ruling Thursday ordered Northern Ireland taxpayers to pay two women who chose to travel to another country for an abortion.
Until October, Northern Ireland was the only place on the British Isles that protected unborn babies’ right to life. However, the country was forced to abandon its protections for unborn babies after the British government voted to force Northern Ireland to legalize abortion on demand up to 24 weeks and force taxpayers to pay for them.
For years, abortion activists have been trying various ways to push Northern Ireland to legalize abortion, including through court cases.
The ruling handed down Thursday by the European Court of Human Rights was one of them.
According to The Guardian, a mother and daughter filed the lawsuit after they traveled to England for an abortion seven years ago. They claimed that Northern Ireland’s pro-life laws “forced” them to travel to another country in violation of their privacy rights under Articles 8 and 14 of the Human Rights Act, the report states.
On Thursday, the court agreed that Northern Ireland should pay the family at least £900 for the abortion and travel expenses, as well as additional legal costs, according to the report.
The women are not named in reports, and it is not clear if it was the mother or the daughter who aborted her unborn baby.
Abortion activists rejoiced at the news and encouraged other women to come forward to find out of their abortions could be paid for at taxpayers’ expense.
“This is a very important case, which proved instrumental in raising widespread awareness of the discrepancy in access to NHS-funded abortion services for women in Northern Ireland,” said lawyer Angela Jackman, who helped argue the case.
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Emma Campbell, of the pro-abortion Alliance For Choice, urged the government to apologize to women for not legalizing abortion sooner. She encouraged women who traveled to England to abort their unborn babies to contact her organization.
The mother and daughter “went through a long hard battle in the courts but if other women did come forward looking for compensation then we would put them in direct contact with the proper legal representation,” Campbell said.
Northern Ireland was one of the last bastions of safety for unborn babies in Europe after abortion activists pushed Ireland to repeal its pro-life constitutional amendment in 2018. Now abortions are legal and taxpayer-funded in both countries.
Pro-life advocates estimate that Northern Ireland’s 1967 pro-life law saved 100,000 unborn babies from abortion.