The Family Planning Association (FPA) was originally scheduled to be in Court today, but the leave hearing has now been listed for Monday 24th September 2012. The FPA’s aim in seeking a judicial review could only be to force the Department of Health to issue its guidance on abortion without any further consideration. Ten years after the FPA first went to court over the matter, it's clear that things haven’t gone according to plan and the abortion industry is growing impatient.
It might seem something of a contradiction that while the FPA is so keen on abortion guidance for doctors in Northern Ireland, it has been so vehemently opposed to the imminent introduction of new requirements on the collection of data on abortions in hospitals here. After all, without accurately recorded figures, how is anyone to say if guidance is even being applied? The answer is, of course, that the abortion industry's idea of guidance is an official document that streamlines access to abortion without actually seeking to ensure that the law is upheld. Whether or not the FPA is granted leave to seek a review and whether or not such a review would be successful, it is extremely unlikely that the FPA will ever get the kind of guidance it would like. The devolution of criminal justice powers and political stability in Northern Ireland has proven to be a big set back for the FPA and its friends in the abortion industry.