UK Supreme Court expresses disapproval over Northern Ireland abortion law

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Britain's highest court ruled Thursday that Northern Ireland's near-total ban on abortions is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Supreme Court has, by a majority decision, accepted the Attorney General's argument that the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission does not have standing to bring this case.

The court was therefore unable to make a declaration, despite the fact that a majority of judges held that current laws are incompatible with human rights legislation in cases of rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormality. Currently, a termination is only permitted if a woman's life is at risk or if there is a risk of permanent danger to her physical or mental health.

Grainne Teggart, Amnesty International's Northern Ireland campaigner, said: "The highest court in the land has ruled that the United Kingdom is in breach of its own human rights obligations to women in Northern Ireland who are governed by this draconian law".

"It follows that the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction in these proceedings to give relief in respect of the challenge Northern Ireland abortion law", the ruling added.

Following the referendum vote in the republic and protests in Northern Ireland, all eyes are now on the House of Commons which debated the law earlier in the week.

Four judges said the prohibition on abortion in cases of rape and incest was incompatible, while five said banning abortion in case of foetal abnormality was also incompatible. But as Lord Kerr himself said, 'These findings do not represent a binding decision of the of the court.the essential decision of the court.is that the appeal is dismissed and no formal declaration of incompatibility has been made'. And nearly two-thirds, or 64%, of these had travelled from the Republic, while 19% were from Northern Ireland. In many instances they enrich and bring joy to their families and those who come into contact with them. Sarah Ewart said she meant to take a case to Belfast's High Court to seek the declaration of incompatibility the Commission was unable to obtain. That historic change has inspired many people in Northern-Ireland to do the same.

Caroline Simons, legal consultant to LoveBoth, said: "We do not believe however that there is any obligation on the Government to legislate for unrestricted abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy".

Campaigners celebrate result of the Republic of Ireland referendum which showed a landslide decision in favour of repealing the constitutional ban on abortions. "It's my strong, personal view that it is completely unsustainable for us to have a different law from the south on abortion".

"To Theresa May, I would say: 'We need change and help". Following her death, people took to streets to call for immediate reforms in the country's abortion laws. 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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