UK Supreme Court Dismisses Appeal Challenging Northern Ireland Abortion Law

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But a majority also ruled that the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC), which brought the appeal, did not have the power to "institute abstract proceedings of this nature".

Meanwhile, four out of seven judges considering the appeal ruled that the Northern Ireland abortion legislation, which allowed the pregnancy's interruption only in cases where the mother's life was at risk, was incompatible with human rights legislation.

Ms Jackman, victor of the 2018 Lawyer of the Year Award at the Eclipse Proclaim Modern Law Awards, led an Article 8 and Article 14 case (A and B v Secretary of State for Health) in defence of women from Northern Ireland seeking NHS-funded abortions in England.

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".

That part of the ruling gave hope to abortion rights activists seeking to liberalize Northern Ireland's laws.

This rise is likely due to the British Government's announcement in June 2017 that women from Northern Ireland would be granted free terminations in England.

Ireland voted resoundingly to reform its strict abortion laws in last month's referendum, paving the way for the removal of the Eighth - the constitution's all but blanket ban on terminations. It voted against legislating in cases of fatal fetal abnormality and rape in February 2016 and the assembly has not sat since the devolved government collapsed in January 2017.

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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.

As a result, they did not make a formal declaration of incompatibility, which would normally lead to a change in the law. While campaigners across the world are rejoicing the victory, they are also remembering India's Savita Halappanavar who is said to be the trigger behind the referendum. The 1967 Abortion Act was never extended to Northern Ireland. In doing so, it has made clear that there is no human right to abortion.

Fatal foetal abnormalities, rape and incest are not circumstances in which abortions can be performed legally.

The push for the legalization of abortion in Northern Ireland is not a new campaign, and has gained traction with the overturn of an abortion ban in the Republic of Ireland only weeks ago.

"To Theresa May, I would say, "We need change and help". Had she been in a country with a less restrictive abortion law, she could have sought the procedure much earlier.

Britain's Northern Ireland minister has said she would like the law to be changed but that the matter should be decided by local politicians. "It's my strong, personal view that it is completely unsustainable for us to have a different law from the south on abortion".

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