Northern Ireland's Justice Minister David Ford has recommended changes to the abortion laws which would allow for terminations in the case of fatal foetal abnormality.

Proposals to allow abortion in North Ireland in cases of rape are not to be proceeded with.

The proposed changes follow a public consultation on the planned changes to abortion law in the North, which is are much stricter than in the rest of the UK.

Mr Ford said: "After full and careful consideration of the evidence submitted, I have concluded that to change the law along the lines outlined in the consultation paper is the right thing to do."

The minister is now seeking approval from the Stormont Executive to bring forward legislation that would make it legal for women whose baby has no chance of survival outside the womb to terminate the pregnancy early.

Mr Ford said, "In the limited circumstances of a foetal abnormality which is likely to cause death either before birth, during birth or in an initial period after birth, and where no treatment other than palliative care could be offered to improve the chances of survival, my view is that the health and well-being of the woman must take priority and that the law should be clear and offer certainty.

The minister is also proposing to introduce a conscience clause, which would allow doctors and nurses to opt out of the termination process.