Two Northern Ireland pro-life groups have emerged as the financial backers of a successful High Court bid in Dublin to stop a woman traveling to England for an abortion.
The woman’s partner sought an injunction after he believed her family were sending her to the UK to terminate her pregnancy.
A report in the Irish Independent newspaper says the legal costs of the unprecedented case will be met by two Northern Ireland-based pro-life groups.
The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) and Precious Life have confirmed that they will pick up the legal costs for the couple who have now decided to proceed with the pregnancy.
Precious Life is the group which mounts daily pickets and prayer vigils outside the Belfast offices of the Family Planning Association.
The woman’s partner had sought a series of High Court injunctions in Dublin to stop his girlfriend leaving the country for an abortion until her true wishes were ascertained.
The woman, currently 20 weeks pregnant and due to have a termination on Thursday, lives in the North with her partner.
The Irish Independent report says she had her stomach rubbed and rosary beads pressed into her hands by a pro-life activist outside the High Court.
The Precious Life group told the paper it supported the legal bid after the expectant mother was ‘taken’ to the Republic by her parents on July 12.
The financial support offered by Precious Life and SPUC was made public after the woman’s partner withdrew his application at the High Court.
He had asked the court to order a psychiatric assessment of his girlfriend to establish if she was acting of her own free will.
He withdrew the case after his girlfriend submitted a statement to High Court judge Ms Justice Mary Laffoy.
The report says the judge was told that ‘matters would continue as at present in relation to the pregnancy’.
Precious Life founder Bernadette Smyth revealed that the Citizens’ Advice Bureau in Northern Ireland had passed on the organisation’s number to the couple, who were living in the Republic of Ireland but then moved to the North.
She said: “They were very happy to continue with the pregnancy. Women deserve better than abortion. The boyfriend feared that the young woman was being coerced.”
SPUC officer Liam Gibson said: “The High Court intervention in Dublin was the only option available to the man. He was willing to do whatever he could.
“He was willing to go down whatever avenue to protect his girlfriend and his unborn child. SPUC will support him financially.”
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