Denver Newsroom, May 16, 2022 / 14:39 pm
The Attorney General for Northern Ireland, Brenda King, has asked the U.K. Supreme Court to rule whether a ban on “influencing” women or protesting abortion outside abortion clinics is within the competence of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
The court must determine whether the bill is “a proportionate interference with the rights of those who wish to express opposition to abortion services in Northern Ireland,” the attorney general office’s said in a May 9 statement. The statement noted that the bill “does not provide for a defense of reasonable excuse.”
The Abortion Services (Safe Access Zones) Bill makes it a criminal offense for pro-lifers to engage in “influencing” women inside “safe access zones” around premises offering abortions. It bars protests against abortion in these zones, obstruction of access to abortion clinics, or directly arguing with or harassing people who may be entering the clinics.
Under Northern Ireland law, the attorney general may ask for a ruling on a bill to settle legal questions in a way that avoids lengthy litigation.