UK Supreme Court dismisses appeal to overturn N. Ireland's strict abortion laws

Theresa May has been urged to support liberalisation of Northern Ireland's laws

The Supreme Court ruling, released on Thursday morning, highlights that the current law is "disproportionate and incompatible" in relation to Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

"Had it gone the wrong way, Northern Ireland would have faced abortion on demand", the Democratic Unionist Party's Jim Wells told Reuters.

Amnesty International and women who have been directly impacted by the abortion law intervened in the case, providing evidence that the near total abortion ban is a violation of women's rights.

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission had argued that the law should be changed to allow abortions in cases where pregnancies were the result of rape or incest, or in cases where the fetus had a fatal abnormality.

She called for the United Kingdom and Irish governments to then come together under a body called the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference to discuss how to change the laws on terminations.

Theresa May was today urged to defy her DUP backers and to decriminalise abortion in Northern Ireland.

"This must be the final nail in the coffin for Northern Ireland's abortion ban". But though some British lawmakers have floated the idea of changing the abortion law directly from London, Prime Minister Theresa May is unlikely to push for such a change. "A failure to act would be a cruel betrayal of women".

Ewart, right, has said she intends to bring the case to Belfast's High Court.

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"This feels like a huge relief".

By a majority ruling, judges at the Supreme Court in London found that the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission had no legal standing to bring its challenge against the abortion law.

The current law has "a significant chilling effect" on women seeking abortions and medical professionals who may wish to help them, he added.

He said the divisions among Supreme Court justices on the Northern Ireland laws revealed a "complete lack of consensus" on the matter.

"All eyes are now on those respective bodies to ensure that immediate action is taken to bring this vacuum of human rights protection to an immediate end". We will not accept being forced on planes to access healthcare.

Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O'Neill welcomed the Westminster debate, describing it as a "first step" on the road to abortion reform in Northern Ireland. Heidi Allen, a Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) spoke in favor of changing Northern Ireland's laws, citing her own experience having an abortion.

'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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