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

Don’t ask Northern Irish women to beg for their human rights with an abortion referendum

Caitlin protesting outside Downing Street in 2017

Four of the judges (Lady Hale, Lord Mance, Lord Kerr and Lord Wilson) said the current law in Northern Ireland "is disproportionate and incompatible" with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (which deals with "the right to respect for private and family life") in all three of the circumstances the court was considering - namely fatal foetal abnormalities, pregnancy as a result of rape, and pregnancy as a result of incest.

A majority of Britain's Supreme Court justices believe that Northern Ireland's current abortion law, which bans abortion except when a mother's life is at risk, is incompatible with human rights laws, the court said on Thursday.

Mr Corbyn said: "I would say very politely to Arlene Foster, you were elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly, maybe you should play your part in ensuring that Assembly functions and we get a devolved administration working in Northern Ireland".

Northern Ireland's Attorney General John Larkin QC had argued against the NIHRC case, saying that the Province's law on abortion was a matter for the "democratic judgment" of the legislature.

But the UK's Supreme Court ruled it had no jurisdiction to consider the legal challenge because the case wasn't brought forward from a victim who was pregnant as a result of rape or who was carrying a fetus with a fatal abnormality.

The ruling must force the UK Government to urgently legislate for change, Amnesty International said following the verdict.

"All eyes are now on the UK Government", Teggart added.

"Abortion has been a devolved matter in Northern Ireland since it was created in 1921, and it would not be appropriate for Westminster to seek to impose its will, or to be the arbiter of an issue that has always been devolved to the people of Northern Ireland". Theresa May can no longer sit back and do nothing whilst countless women continue to suffer on her watch. "Testimonies of being forced to travel, making their hard situations even more harrowing with lack of healthcare treatment at home", she said. One group of activists drove around Northern Ireland distributing abortion pills.

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.

Any changes to the law will now be up to political leaders, the BBC writes.

The Supreme Court has today dismissed an attempt to overturn Northern Ireland's pro-life protections.

Abortion laws were relaxed in the rest of the U.K in 1967, but that legislation was never applied in Northern Ireland, which had its own parliament between the partition of Ireland in 1921 and the imposition of direct rule from London 50 years later.

The prime minister privately told Conservative MPs that she does not support action to reform Northern Ireland's laws.

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