UK Supreme Court dismisses case to overturn Northern Ireland’s restrictive abortion laws

Ireland: The Aftermath

Ireland: The Aftermath

Judges ruled against an appeal brought by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC), saying that it had no standing to bring its legal challenge to the current law.

"As such, the court does not have jurisdiction to make a declaration of incompatibility [with human rights law] in this case", the court said in a summary of the decision.

According to Precious Life, a pro-life group in Northern Ireland, the pro-abortion Labour MP Stella Creasy has secured an emergency debate on Northern Ireland's abortion laws June 5 in the UK's House of Commons.

"Despite the fact that there wasn't an identified "victim" in this case, the judges felt so strongly that the evidence showed that Northern Ireland's abortion law breaches women's rights, that they dispensed with procedure and set out their conclusions anyway".

With the cabinet reaching either a breaking point or a decision on a Brexit backstop, - it's not clear yet which- the Northern Ireland border is likely to take priority just now over Northern Ireland abortion in the fevered brains of ministers.

DUP chief whip Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said 100,000 people are alive in Northern Ireland today because the Abortion Act 1967 was not accepted.

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

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.

She called for the United Kingdom and Irish governments to then come together under a peace process construct called the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference to discuss how to change the laws on terminations in Northern Ireland.

Following the results of the Republic of Ireland's Eighth Amendment Referendum, renewed pressure has been cast on the Northern Ireland Assembly to reform and legislate for abortion there. The prime minister must commit to reforming abortion law immediately or be complicit in the harm and inequality caused by the existing law.

Speaking to assembled media on Thursday morning, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, meanwhile, stated that the issues relating to Northern Ireland's abortion law should be decided "by the people who live in Northern Ireland".

Anyone who unlawfully carries out an abortion could be jailed for life. They want MPs to attend the debate and stress that the democratic process in Northern Ireland be respected.

Mrs O'Neill said she wanted repeal of the relevant sections of the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act to ensure abortion was no longer treated as a criminal offence in the region.

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