Byline: GORDON CURRIE;TRACEY LAWSON
CHURCH leaders and pro-life groups reacted angrily last night after a young father lost a legal battle to prevent his estranged wife from aborting their unborn child.
A judge ruled yesterday that cabaret singer Lynne Kelly, 21, should be allowed to terminate her pregnancy at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary against husband James Kelly's wishes.
Mr Kelly, 28, had earlier been granted a temporary order stopping the operation from being performed before a full hearing in private before Lord Eassie at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Tuesday.
Lord Eassie announced his ruling to a packed courtroom yesterday.
He pointed out that, under the terms of the 1967 Abortion Act, it was left to two doctors to decide if a woman should be entitled to an abortion, adding that it was not the place of the courts to override any decision made in `good faith' by qualified members of the medical profession.
Last night Mr Kelly said he was devastated at the ruling.
He said: `She has ruined my life. I will always love her but I will never, ever, have her back in my life.
`I want her to have the baby. I want custody of it after it is born. I will do everything possible to stop her having an abortion.'
Cardinal Thomas Winning, leader of Scotland's 750,000 Catholics, described the ruling as a `chilling statement about the moral state of the nation'. He added that he was `deeply saddened' and called for a change in the abortion laws.
His call was backed by several pro-life groups. However the Abortion Law Reform Association called the decision a `victory for common sense.'
Mr Kelly's solicitor, Wendy Sheehan, said after the decision: `The judgment denies him any rights as father of the child. I have been instructed to lodge an immediate appeal.'
A panel of three judges will hear the appeal in the Inner House of the Court of Session this morning.
Neither of the parties was in court to hear Lord Eassie's decision. Lynne Kelly was at her parents' home in Edinburgh, refusing to comment. Mr Kelly was understood to be in discussions with a tabloid newspaper.
When Mr Kelly and Lynne Falconer married less than two years ago, children were already on their minds.
The new bride was pregnant as she signed the book at an Edinburgh registry office. But the rows started almost before their daughter Hazel, now 18 months, was born.
Mr Kelly, a roofer, had endured long periods of unemployment, while his young bride began establishing herself as a singer - following in her mother Sally's footsteps.
It was while she was singing in a club in their home town of Inverkeithing, Fife, a few weeks ago that the couple finally decided their brief marriage was over.
But when Mr Kelly heard his wife was going to abort the child she was carrying, he decided to go to court to try and stop her - an attempt that appeared yesterday to have ended in failure. …