UK Supreme Court dismisses appeal to overturn N. Ireland's strict abortion laws

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn earlier hit out at the DUP after it insisted Westminster should not meddle with Northern Ireland's strict abortion regime, insisting the UK Parliament has a responsibility to respect human rights standards.

"The Supreme Court has dismissed the case brought by the Human Rights Commission".

Despite this, numerous judges said the existing law was incompatible with human rights law in situations of fatal foetal abnormality and sexual crime.

"We took this case to bring greater clarity to the law and we welcome the court's decision", Les Allamby, chief commissioner of the NIHRC, said. The legislation subjects women to "inhuman and degrading" treatment and is in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights, the NIHRC argued.


But a majority of judges said the existing law was incompatible with human rights law in cases of fatal foetal abnormality and sexual crime. She would like parliament to repeal parts of the Offences Against the Person Act of 1861, thereby decriminalizing abortion in Northern Ireland.

"While the case's dismissal means the government is not obliged to change the law, the seven judges have given a strong nod that reform is needed", Marie-Louise Connolly writes.

In Northern Ireland, women are only permitted to terminate their pregnancy when their life is in danger or the pregnancy runs a serious risk to their mental or physical health.

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Karen Bradley told the Commons, the U.K.'s directly-elected lower house, the issue "should be decided by the people of Northern Ireland".


Les Allamby, chief commissioner, said: "If the court rules that there is a violation of human rights, then that becomes a very serious issue for the United Kingdom government".

"All eyes are now on the UK Government".

"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". But though some British lawmakers have floated the idea of changing the abortion law directly from London, Prime Minister Theresa May is unlikely to push for such a change.

The issue is further clouded by the collapse of the Northern Ireland Assembly, a power-sharing regional government set up by the 1998 Good Friday accord. "These are sentient human beings who have every right to life, who have every right to be protected".


Research by Both Lives Matter has shown that an estimated 100,000 people are alive today because of Northern Ireland's stance. "What we need is compassion and services in Northern Ireland".

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