Reaction to Supreme Court abortion ruling

Jun 09, 2018, 19:00
Reaction to Supreme Court abortion ruling

It asked the Supreme Court to rule that a prohibition on abortions where a pregnancy arises from rape or incest, or "involves a serious foetal abnormality", is unlawful.

Northern Ireland's Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) told the court that the current law criminalizes "exceptionally vulnerable" women and girls and subjects them to "inhuman and degrading" treatment.

The Supreme Court judges said it would have required the case to have been brought by a woman who was pregnant as a result of sexual crime or who was carrying a foetus with a fatal abnormality.

"All eyes are now on the United Kingdom government".

The commission a year ago argued that the current law criminalises "exceptionally vulnerable" women and girls and subjects them to "inhuman and degrading" treatment. "A failure to act would be a cruel betrayal of women".

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But the Department of Justice at Stormont and Northern Ireland's attorney general challenged the judgment and won the appeal.

She added: "I for one want to be a legislator that brings about that change, but because of the DUP's denial of rights, and the fact we don't have an institution, because of the DUP's denial of rights what we need to see is the inter-governmental conference to meet and for them to deal with the rights-based issues, including the issue of women's healthcare".

Ewart, right, has said she intends to bring the case to Belfast's High Court.

Abortion rights activists called the court's ruling on the law's incompatibility a "landmark decision" that would put pressure on the British government to act, while anti-abortion groups emphasized there was no requirement to do so. Theresa May is likely to repeat her mantra that abortion is a devolved matter.

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.

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Because of Northern Ireland legislation, newly-wed Sarah travelled to London for a termination at her own expense, with flights and hotels included, of more than £2,100.

A DUP MLA has said the number of people murdered by the Nazis in concentration camps during World War Two is comparable to the number of abortions since laws were relaxed in England, Scotland and Wales.

Lord Manse stated: "the present law clearly needs radical reconsideration".

Decriminalizing abortion in Northern Ireland may come down to a vote Wednesday in London's House of Commons at Westminster.

Lord Kerr stated that the answer to the breaches of human rights could be achieved through an amendment to the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 and the Criminal Justice Act (NI) 1945.

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