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UK's highest court to rule on legality of Northern Ireland's abortion law

UK's highest court to rule on legality of Northern Ireland's abortion law

Human rights campaigners have lost a Supreme Court appeal over the legality of Northern Ireland's abortion law.

In a legal action heard at the U.K.'s Supreme Court in 2017, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, an independent public body, sought to force a change to the region's antiabortion laws.

"It follows that the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction in these proceedings to give relief in respect of the challenge Northern Ireland abortion law", the ruling added.

It comes a day after MPs at Westminster debated calls for change to abortion laws in Northern Ireland.

With the cabinet reaching either a breaking point or a decision on a Brexit backstop, - it's not clear yet which- the Northern Ireland border is likely to take priority just now over Northern Ireland abortion in the fevered brains of ministers.

"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".

Precious Life is urging pro-lifers in Northern Ireland to contact their MPs and impress upon them that this issue should not be decided in the London-based parliament but rather, by Northern Ireland's Stormont Assembly.

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission had challenged the law in court.

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.

But the court's opinion, while laid out at length, is not binding because the case has been dismissed on technical grounds.

This surely means the UK Government must now act to change the law. Theresa May can no longer sit back and do nothing whilst countless women continue to suffer on her watch. Since the Irish referendum was approved, British Prime Minister Theresa May has dealt with mounting pressure to reform Northern Ireland's abortion statutes.

"This must be the final nail in the coffin for Northern Ireland's abortion ban".

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.

'The need for amendment is evident... the present legislative position in Northern Ireland is untenable and intrinsically disproportionate in excluding from any possibility of abortion pregnancies involving fatal foetal abnormality or due to rape or incest... the present law clearly needs radical reconsideration.

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