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Rival campaigns welcome Supreme Court ruling on abortion services

10 June 2018

"I am relieved to hear the highest court in the land has recognised that Northern Ireland is in breach of human rights for people who find themselves with fatal foetal abnormality and have said that the law needs to be changed, so we will keep going until we get that change", she added. The appeal argues the law should be changed to allow abortions in cases where pregnancies are a result of rape or incest, or in the cases where the fetus has a fatal abnormality.

"As such, the court does not have jurisdiction to make a declaration of incompatibility (with human rights law) in this case", the court said in a summary of the decision.

It is, therefore, incompatible with the right to respect for privacy and family life, as guaranteed by the European convention on human rights.

Unlike in other parts of the United Kingdom which are covered by the 1967 Abortion Act, a termination in Northern Ireland is only permitted if a women's life, or permanent mental or physical health is at risk.

Pro-choice campaigners demanded action after a majority of Supreme Court judges said the ban on terminations in cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormality needed "radical reconsideration".

Although the decision is not a formal declaration of incompatibility, because the case has technically been dismissed, "the judgment triggered fresh calls for the government and politicians in Northern Ireland to deal with the issue" says The Guardian.

Laurence Wilkinson, legal counsel for ADF International, a group that advocates the right to live according to religious belief, said it welcomes the dismissal of the case, asserting that "at least 100,000 people in Northern Ireland are alive today" because of the decision not to liberalize laws in 1967, when Wales, England and Scotland eased restrictions.

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This article has been adapted from its original source.

The High Court in Belfast ruled in 2015 that this was incompatible with human rights law.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has been under pressure to intervene to liberalise Northern Ireland's strict abortion laws following the Irish result. 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 Northern Ireland director of the Royal College of Midwives made a similar comment.

"However, the Court has indicated how it would have decided the case if the Commission had standing".

The number means women and girls from the Republic of Ireland accounted for over six in 10 (64.3%) of non-resident abortions a year ago.

Candle and flowers are placed in front of a mural of Savita Halappanavar in Dublin as Ireland has voted to repeal the 8th Amendment of the Irish Constitution which prohibits abortions unless a mother's life is in danger. Had she been in a country with a less restrictive abortion law, she could have sought the procedure much earlier.

"Unborn children can not speak for themselves so they need us to be their voice".

Rival campaigns welcome Supreme Court ruling on abortion services