London, England, Jun 7, 2018 / 15:23 pm
The UK Supreme Court threw out a case challenging Northern Ireland's abortion law on Thursday, saying the commission which brought the case does not have standing to do so. However, the judges also said the current law violates the European Convention on Human Rights.
The challenge was brought by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. Abortion is allowed in Northern Ireland only if the mother's life is at risk, or if there is risk of permanent, serious damage to her mental or physical health.
Lord Mance, delivering the judgement June 7, said that had the commission the competence to bring the challenge, "I would have concluded, without real hesitation at the end of the day, that the current Northern Ireland law is incompatible with article 8 of the [European human rights] convention insofar as it prohibits abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality, rape and incest but not insofar as it prohibits abortion in cases of serious foetal abnormality."
Four of the seven judges agreed that Northern Ireland abortion law is incompatible with the ECHR in cases of fatal fetal abnormality, rape, and incest. A fifth agreed it is incompatible only in cases of fatal fetal abnormality.