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UK Supreme Court dismisses bid to overturn abortion law in Northern Ireland

Thursday 07 June 2018 MSI Reproductive Choices Press release, Safe abortion and post abortion care UK

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The UK Supreme Court has dismissed the latest attempt to overturn Northern Ireland’s restrictive abortion laws but concluded that they are incompatible with human rights.

By a narrow majority of four to three, justices at the UK’s highest court said it had no jurisdiction to consider the latest legal challenge because there was no actual or potential victim of an unlawful act involved in the case.

A majority of judges, however, went on to add that Northern Ireland’s abortion law was incompatible with the right to respect for private and family life as guaranteed by the European convention on human rights.

In response to the dismissal, Richard Bentley, Marie Stopes UK’s Managing Director said:

“We are dismayed with this decision, which could have paved the way for women in extremely desperate circumstances to obtain the care they need at home in Northern Ireland, instead of being forced to travel to receive safe, legal abortion care or risk one of the harshest criminal penalties in Europe.

“We call on politicians in Belfast and Westminster to take decisive action now to ensure Northern Irish women are finally afforded the care and compassion they deserve.”

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