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UK Supreme Court majority finds N.Ireland abortion law violates human rights
08 June 2018, 08:26 | Darnell Patrick
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption The law on abortion in Northern Ireland explained
"Watching MPs saying how sad they feel about situation in Northern Ireland but shrugging their duties to act to protect human rights set out in Good Friday agreement makes you wonder if they have even read it and responsibilities it gives United Kingdom parliament".
Abortion laws are stricter in Northern Ireland than the rest of the UK.
The Supreme Court therefore did not deliver a formal ruling on the issue.
A majority of the court decided that the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, which initiated the case, did not have the standing to bring the challenge to the abortion law.
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.
However, a majority of the seven judges agreed that the law breached the European Convention of Human Rights in cases of rape, incest and fetal abnormality.
"The view from the Supreme Court is clear - politicians can no longer duck our responsibilities to properly analyse and legislate on hard issues".
Heidi Allen, a Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) spoke in favor of changing Northern Ireland's laws, citing her own experience having an abortion.
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. As such, the court does not have jurisdiction to make a declaration of incompatibility in this case.
"This is hugely significant and makes clear there is nowhere left for the government to hide on this issue".
"All eyes are now on the UK Government". Theresa May can no longer sit back and do nothing whilst countless women continue to suffer on her watch.
"Public opinion is clear on this issue with around 70% of the population supporting abortion law reform". She would like parliament to repeal parts of the Offences Against the Person Act of 1861, thereby decriminalizing abortion in Northern Ireland. "A failure to act would be a cruel betrayal of women".
She added, "That is why the government, like its predecessors, believes that the best forum to debate and resolve these and many other matters is a locally elected Northern Ireland assembly, so the government's priority remains to urgently re-establish strong, inclusive, devolved government at the earliest opportunity".
Varadkar also spoke of his regret at the absence of a Stormont Assembly. Dylan Collins on The Architects of Business, JOE's new show in partnership with EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™, also available on iTunes and YouTube.
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