UK Supreme Court criticizes Northern Ireland abortion laws

10 June, 2018, 19:27 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Ireland abortion laws

The abortion referendum in the Republic of Ireland reignited a debate about Northern Ireland's law, with some calling for reform while others, including the biggest party, the DUP, remain opposed to changing the law.

Ms Smyth said she believed the case was lost on a technicality.

It is, therefore, incompatible with the right to respect for privacy and family life, as guaranteed by the European convention on human rights.

Unlike in mainland Britain, abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland, carrying a potential life sentence, except when a woman's life is at risk or there is a permanent or serious danger to her mental or physical health.

While ruling against the NIHRC's appeal for lack of standing, several members of the U.K. Supreme Court said the Northern Irish abortion restrictions did appear to conflict with European human rights guarantees.

Like women in Ireland, women in Northern Ireland have also had to travel from home to seek abortions.

Northern Ireland's elected assembly has the authority to decide on any changes to its abortion laws.

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This article has been adapted from its original source. "What now will happen is that we have issued proceedings in today in Belfast in Sarah's name to have that formal declaration made and our work will continue at Westminster to ensure that long overdue legislative change happens", she said. The law does not, however, take into consideration pregnancy by rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormality, which is when doctors determine if the unborn child has a life-threatening condition and will most likely die either in the womb or shortly after birth. While campaigners across the world are rejoicing the victory, they are also remembering India's Savita Halappanavar who is said to be the trigger behind the referendum.

"This must be the final nail in the coffin for Northern Ireland's abortion ban".

"It's unfortunate that human rights law, in the way that it's developing, doesn't acknowledge the fact that there is no right to abortion in global human rights law", she said. "But the analysis and comments from the court on the issue of incompatibility will be clearly heard by this House and politicians in Northern Ireland".

"This is a landmark decision that I hope will lead to changes that will improve the lives of women in Northern Ireland and the care they receive".

DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said the NIHRC had questions to answer about the cost of taking the case and why "it made a decision to act beyond its competence in such a sensitive issue".

"Unborn children can not speak for themselves so they need us to be their voice".

The push for the legalization of abortion in Northern Ireland is not a new campaign, and has gained traction with the overturn of an abortion ban in the Republic of Ireland only weeks ago. "Those responsible for ensuring the compatibility of Northern Irish law, will no doubt recognise and take account of these conclusions...by considering how to amend the law, in the light of the ongoing suffering being caused by it". The vote is a "rejection of an Ireland that treated women as second-class citizens", she said, adding: "This is about women's equality and this day brings massive change, monumental change for women in Ireland, and there is no going back".

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