Human rights campaigners lose Northern Ireland abortion appeal


Those responsible for ensuring the compatibility of Northern Ireland law with the Convention rights will no doubt recognise and take account of these conclusions, at as early a time as possible, by considering whether and how to amend the law, in the light of the ongoing suffering being caused by it'.

In 2015, the High Court ruled that abortion legislation in Northern Ireland did violate human rights under European Union law.

But a majority of the judges also found that the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission had no legal standing to bring its challenge against the laws as they dismissed it on a technicality.

In 2017, the Court of Appeal ruled that even if the abortion law did violate human rights, it could only be changed by a devolved government.

Abortion is illegal except where a woman's life is at risk or there is a permanent or serious danger to her mental or physical health.

Amnesty International's Northern Ireland campaigner Grainne Teggart called the Supreme Court's admission "hugely significant" and put pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May to act.

The decision comes weeks after the Republic of Ireland's landmark referendum in which the abortion ban was lifted.

Northern Ireland minister Karen Bradley insisted that abortion was "a matter for the people of Northern Ireland".

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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.

There have been calls for the UK Parliament to legislate for abortion reform in Northern Ireland in the absence of a functioning devolved government.

As a result, the justices said the Supreme Court "has no jurisdiction" in the proceedings to strike down the law.

"All seven judges have also made clear that they would not have allowed abortion on the grounds of a serious malformation of the unborn child". It is now time to listen to the women of the United Kingdom and ensure safe, accessible abortion - which saves and improves lives - is available to everyone who needs it.

Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley is also saying that Westminster can not decide to reform Northern Ireland's abortion laws.

"I personally have been doing this for five years, and five years is too long. What we need is compassion and services in Northern Ireland".

An emergency debate on the issue of abortion in Northern Ireland was held in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

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.