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Sunday 31 August 2014

Pro life groups pay legal bill of couple who decide against abortion

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

Published 19/07/2013 | 13:06

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THE Society for the Protection of the Unborn (SPUC) and a Northern Ireland pro-life group says it will foot the legal and other bills of a young couple who have decided not to terminate their pregnancy.

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It has emerged that SPUC and Precious Life, a Belfast base pro life group, supported a man who tried to stop his young girlfriend travelling to Britain for an abortion.

The man withdrew his case today after the high Court was told that matters will continue "as at present" in relation to the pregnancy.

SPUC and Precious Life, whose counselling arm is called Women'snet, say they will pay the legal bills if necessary and will offer any other financial help it can to the young couple who are both in their twenties and are non nationals.

Bernadette  Smith of Precious Life said that the Citizens Advice Bureau in Northern Ireland had passed on the organisations number to the couple who were living in the Republic of Ireland but had moved to the north.

"They were very happy to continue with the pregnancy," said Ms Smith, adding "women deserve better than abortion".

Liam Gibson, Northern Ireland development officer for the SPUC said that coercion to have an abortion "does not receive much publicity".

Mr Gibson said that no money had been provided for legal costs to date, but this would be considered.

Last Wednesday the girl's boyfriend sought a High Court injunction to stop her from travelling for an abortion - or from leaving the country until her true wishes were ascertained - amid claims that his young partner was being "forced" by her parents to terminate her pregnancy.

But the proceedings have been struck out after the High Court was told that "matters will continue as at present" in relation to the pregnancy.

The High Court had adjourned the case until today (FRI) after hearing a request from the man that the woman be examined by a forensic psychiatrist to ascertain if she really wanted to terminate the pregnancy.

He said he would not stand in her way if it is her wish to have the abortion.

The young woman, who was in court this morning with her boyfriend, was due to have a termination yesterday

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