Parliament emergency debate on abortion for Northern Ireland

Parliament emergency debate on abortion for Northern Ireland

Parliament emergency debate on abortion for Northern Ireland

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.

And, today, in a case Humanists UK intervened in, the UK Supreme Court has ruled that Northern Ireland's prohibition on abortion in the cases of rape, incest, or where the foetus will not survive to full term or will during or shortly after birth (fatal feotal abnormality) is not compatible with human rights legislation.

"The Supreme Court has confirmed that abortion laws breach human rights".

"Had it gone the wrong way, Northern Ireland would have faced abortion on demand", the Democratic Unionist Party's Jim Wells told Reuters.

"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". As such, the court does not have jurisdiction to make a declaration of incompatibility in this case.

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But the court's opinion, while laid out at length, is not binding because the case has been dismissed on technical grounds. [It] makes clear there is nowhere left for the government to hide on this issue.

The UK Government has resisted calls to step in and legislate amid the ongoing powersharing impasse in Northern Ireland, insisting that any decision on abortion in the region has to be taken by locally elected politicians at Stormont.

"We recognize there are strongly-held views on all sides of the debate in Northern Ireland and that's why our focus is on restoring that democratically accountable, devolved government", Downing Street said after the meeting. But though some British lawmakers have floated the idea of changing the abortion law directly from London, Prime Minister Theresa May is unlikely to push for such a change. Theresa May is likely to repeat her mantra that abortion is a devolved matter. "A failure to act would be a cruel betrayal of women".

The ruling comes just weeks after the Republic of Ireland voted decisively in a referendum to reform the country's strict abortion laws, which had effectively banned all terminations.

"I would have concluded without real hesitation. that the current state of Northern Ireland is incompatible with Article 8 of the Convention, insofar as it prohibits abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality, rape and incest, but not insofar as it prohibits abortion in cases of serious foetal abnormality", said judge Jonathan Mance.

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