Northern Ireland abortion law in breach of human rights commitments

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High court in Belfast issues ruling against country’s strict abortion law

Northern Ireland’s strict abortion law breaches the UK’s human rights commitments, the high court in Belfast has ruled.

The case was brought by Sarah Ewart, who was refused a termination in 2013. Instead she travelled to a London clinic to end her pregnancy after doctors said her unborn child would die in the womb or shortly after birth.

Giving her judgment, Mrs Justice Siobhan Keegan said: “In my view her personal testimony is compelling.” She added that Ewart, 29, had been affected by the current law.

Keegan said: “[Ewart] has had to modify her behavior in that she could not have medical treatment in Northern Ireland due to the risk of criminal prosecution. She may be actively affected in the future. In my view her personal testimony is not disputed.”

The judge said she had followed the ruling of the UK Supreme Court that abortion law in Northern Ireland was incompatible with article 8 of the European convention on human rights. The judge will hear further submissions before deciding what action to take.

Source: Guardian UK

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