Pro-life campaigners have attacked the decision of the Family Planning Association to re-launch its legal action to force the Northern Ireland Health Department to issue guidelines on abortion as a 'smokescreen' and have vowed to continue to fight against the introduction of liberal abortion to the Province. Referring to the rejection of the FPA's judicial review earlier this month, Mrs Betty Gibson, Northern Ireland Chairwoman of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said: "It should be obvious to everyone that the FPA is not seeking guidelines but trying to undermine Northern Ireland's legal protection of our unborn children. The FPA is on record as calling for abortion on demand and is using the courts to try to achieve that because the people and politicians here are opposed to a change in the law. "The FPA claimed our law was 'unclear'. The judge rejected that saying there was no need for guidelines as the law was perfectly clear and even spelt it out in his judgement. He also criticised the FPA's evidence as 'unsupported and unsustained'. "Although its lawyers agreed in court where the law stood, the FPA are again saying it is unclear. No one should be in any doubt that the demand for guidelines is merely a smokescreen to attack the right to life of our unborn children. "The SPUC has already successfully intervened to oppose FPA claims in court and we will continue to defend the right to life of all unborn children," said Mrs Gibson. The FPA was granted a judicial review in June 2001. The judge, Mr Justice Kerr later agreed to hear submissions from the Roman Catholic Bishops, the SPUC and other pro-life groups. Mr Justice Kerr handed down his judgement, rejecting the FPA's application on 7 July 2003. On 20 June 2000 the Northern Ireland Assembly adopted a motion opposing the liberalisation of the Province's abortion laws reiterating the stance of the previous Assembly (29 Feb 1984) which vote 20 to 1 against liberalisation.
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