UK Supreme Court criticizes Northern Ireland abortion laws

UK Supreme Court criticizes Northern Ireland abortion laws

Human rights campaigners have lost a Supreme Court appeal over the legality of Northern Ireland's abortion law.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the current law is incompatible with Article 8 of European Convention of Human Rights - that is the right to respect for private and family life - in those three circumstances.

As a result, the justices said the Supreme Court "has no jurisdiction" in the proceedings to strike down the law.

It comes a day after MPs at Westminster debated calls for change to abortion laws in Northern Ireland.

Britain's Northern Ireland minister has said she would like the law to be changed, but it was up to the people of Northern Ireland.

Abortion is unlawful in all but the most extreme cases.

In the past fortnight, the issue of abortion in Northern Ireland has been thrust onto the front pages.

Twitter reacts to Kate Spade's sudden death
In the meantime, we send out condolences to her family. "It's amusing how a purse can instantly make you feel like an adult". In the past few years, Spade - born Katherine Brosnahan - had launched a new accessories label, Frances Valentine .

Then Stella Creasy MP led an impassioned debate in the House of Commons on removing abortion from criminal law across the United Kingdom, most significantly impacting upon Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland assembly has not sat for 17 months. The Supreme Court's ruling means that the UK Government is in breach of its own human rights commitments by not enabling access to abortion in Northern Ireland.

The commission past year argued that the current law criminalises "exceptionally vulnerable" women and girls and subjects them to "inhuman and degrading" treatment.

As it now stands, abortion is only legal in Northern Ireland if the life of the woman is endangered.

The commission welcomed the court's opinion that the law was incompatible with the European Convention, but said it was disappointed in the ruling that it did not have sufficient powers to take the case. [It] makes clear there is nowhere left for the government to hide on this issue. Two others said they could not reach a conclusion on the matter.

"Until such times as the legal framework caters for what are very basic human rights, our client, Sarah Ewart, has made it clear that she will continue to take the case to the highest level to ensure that no woman has to go through the traumatic experience in which she was so forced". Since the Irish referendum was approved, British Prime Minister Theresa May has dealt with mounting pressure to reform Northern Ireland's abortion statutes.

At the end of May, the Republic of Ireland voted overwhelmingly to overturn an abortion ban - prompting debate around the issue in Northern Ireland. Amnesty is calling for the repeal of sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, which would decriminalise abortion and enable a Human Right compliant healthcare framework to be put in place.

Related Articles